for teens, by teens

Canvas Teen Literary Journal is published quarterly in print, ebook, web, video, and audio formats.


Hannah Nathanson

They told me stardust makes up our bruised knuckles, 
one late night explosion fills fingernails like algae oceans.

Yet, every night we connect stars to constellations
as if runaway cars have only ever held runaways.  

Camera flashes blink down on us as we sit on roofs and count.
A phone rings from above the ocean’s dock. 

My pale skin—a reminisce of implosions
you cannot not see without binoculars. 

Stare instead at the clock above the stovetop,
running three minutes ahead of the grey man’s watch,
and running two minutes behind the hospital computer,
and running.

Polaris still sits directly north from you.
They tell me Mars is falling back in retrograde. 

You name a star for comment,
fall back into the vocal chord vibrations of your favorite song. 

I know you don’t pray often, 
but you serenade the heavens, 
asking not to be left alone—

I am a microscopic fraction of the lights in the dimming sky.
They name me a match and then call it a tie. 

You buy indulgence from the other side of the conveyor belt.

Inside, others play cards around a table and radio static. 
Every conversation ends with someone screaming out, “War!” 

Soon, we will all drift into sleep,
but you keep mumbling questions
like you think you deserve confirmation.

There is a box in the attic filled with broken clocks and baseball cards,
underbreath hums and quarters. 

There is a match between the sidewalk squares,
they tell me to walk past it, in regard to the bigger things.


HANNAH NATHANSON is a sophomore at City Honors School in Buffalo, New York. She is a youth ambassador at the Just Buffalo Writing Center and is hardly ever found without a writing utensil. When she isn't caught up in a project of her own, chances are you can find her caught up in an elaborate daydream or stuck in an elaborate conversation.

© Canvas Literary Journal 2016
Writers & Books
Rochester, NY