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Freshman Student ID (Me, At 17)
by Sonny Regelman

Look at her face on the student ID,
headed out on her own for the first time,
(though she’d really been alone for years),
all pointy chin and dark eyes and pale skin,
you can almost see the eating disorder
(though she was unaware).

Look at her homemade
pink tie-dyed t-shirt
and the single blonde streak in her hair.
All attitude and defiance
and grief
(though she would call it rage).

Look at her crooked smile
and the tilt of her head,
the semi-precious stone earrings
made by her best friend.
Her smile masks her keen knowledge
of how tragic life can be,
how it can end too soon,
too painfully.

Look at her face on the student ID.
She carries the past forward
but forever holds the future at bay.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My freshman Student ID, Pennsylvania, 1992.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The prompt for this series immediately made me think of my college student ID, which was taken just before orientation of my freshman year in 1992. When I look at that photo over 20 years later, I know so much more about the girl in the photo than I knew about her then. In the poem, I tried to describe what she knew and what I know about her decades later.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sonny Regelman is a 20-year editorial professional. She began writing poetry in the sixth grade and was published frequently in her Pennsylvania hometown newspaper. She has a master’s degree in Writing and Publishing from Emerson College. Her work recently appeared in the Di-Vêrsé-City Anthology 2016. She is a 2017 Writing Barn Fellow and also serves on the board of the Austin Poetry Society.