“still dangerous,” by Julia at Millennium Park, Chicago

Thursday September 13, 2018
1:48pm
5 minutes
Soft
Sarah Pinder

He whistles his love from the bathroom with the door closed
She is supposed to whistle back to signal that she heard him
She never learned how to whistle
It hasn’t been a major set back
except when everyone else was whistling in the
first scene of the show but her
She pursed her lips together and
raised her eyebrows to fake it

When he whistles from the bathroom
She is supposed to answer him but
she doesn’t know how to fake it
Whatever song comes out, comes out
Whatever noise, faint or otherwise
He takes it as a symbol of her love for him
But she does not know how to whistle
She does not know how to fake it
She has never been good at lying
He has never been good at detecting it

They say you can teach yourself how to whistle
The placement of the tongue in your mouth is everything
The space left for air to flow through

One day she tried to teach herself how to whistle
She put her mouth the way they say to
she made sure her tongue was in the right spot
One sad little note slipped out
And she was glad that she could learn to do
the thing that everyone seems to know how to do

When he whistled his love for her behind the bathroom door
She whistled back one flat note
She never learned how to change the tone
Or make it sound more alive

“We emailed back and forth” by Julia on the 99

Monday November 20, 2017
10:50pm
5 minutes
overheard at JJ Bean

There was an email I sent him once. We were still in high school. I can’t remember if this was before or after Natalie locked us in Denise’s storage room, hoping that we’d have nothing to do in there but make out. I was hoping the same thing. You’d think that after he told me he would do it, but it would mean more to me than it would to him, that I’d get the message and move on to another emotionally unavailable 16 year old, but no. I took it as a sign that he was noble or decent or protective of me even, because he loved me. I have had some serious let downs from thinking I was all that before. The fall is always harder from the great height of delusion.
But this email I sent him was a survey. It was designed for teenagers to flirt with each other, confessing their secrets, disguised as “everybody is doing it so here you go.” He answered my survey. He wrote down what song made him think of me. He said “I was born in a small town”. I thought at the time it was cute. Look how well he knows me. But he didn’t know me. I was born in a bigger city than he was.

“With a couple of girlfriends” by Julia at BC Children’s hospital


Saturday November 26, 2016
12:52pm
5 minutes
overheard at BC Children’s Hospital

I imagine her carrying her black bag, (bottomless, gold hardware, disgusting) to the gym and then the bank. She fishes around: hand plunged into crusty zipper pockets and crumbled Nature Valley Granola Bar lining. She doesn’t know what she’s looking for and what she’s hoping to find but she knows the answer is deep down somewhere between the Revlon Matte Lip Stain and the broken bronzer pallet staining her receipts pumpkin. I don’t think she’d ask a man to carry it for her when she gets tired of it, but maybe when she has to bend to tie her shoes. She knows in one of the pouches there is a yellow hanker chief that her grandmother gave her and laughed at when she told her she would wear it in her back pocket (peeking out just a bit) as a fashion statement. I imagine she tells her this joke during one of her grandmother’s coughing fits, but not that she will miss her when she’s gone.