me17
How Well Do You Know Me?
by Rachel Voss

At seventeen, we made lists of favorite things and foibles
which quantified who we were. Now, a corporation

knows best, identity aggregated into data.
But back then, we could recite each other’s

by heart, preferences and peccadillos
like keys to a private club, Platonic intimacy

of adolescence somehow the best romance
you’d ever have. Would we live in a shack

or a mansion? Would we rather watch Spaceballs
or Princess Bride? Kiss Brian or Anthony?

Driving around aimlessly, going nowhere but
accumulating miles on family cars, suburban tedium

simmered in countless cups of coffee. But nights
were still never long enough. At the end of each

miraculous one, we picked the friend with the biggest
heart, and hunkered down in a utopia of affinity,

gathering strength for the next day’s discoveries.
On the wall, a pink clock flowered every hour,

opening petals like precious reminders
of eternity, chiming the endless nights

we spent at every sleepover, nestled
together in couch cushions, pretending

to not hear the passing of time.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me in 2001 or 2002, at a rock show at the local college.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Adolescence has always been—and will always be—about loudly and aggressively broadcasting one’s likes and dislikes in a desperate attempt to find one’s place in the world. But that’s also why the bonds of youth feel so strong: you’re finding yourself as an individual, surrounded by people trying to do the same thing. You learn who you are by learning who they are, and you never want the immediacy of those times to end.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Voss is a high school English teacher living in Queens, New York. She graduated with a degree in creative writing and literature from SUNY Purchase College. Her work has previously appeared in The Ghazal Page, Hanging Loose Magazine, The New Verse News, Unsplendid, 3Elements Review, and Bodega Magazine, among others.