From a Paper Boy from a Paper Town by Michael J. Sun

There are words here,

so many words here

I wish you could read,

when you say it is just paper,

what's written on the veneers,

on sidewalk squares and on skin,

no, the pages are not

all white crisp copy sheets

some have tears and wrinkles

some are colored in more than one

I am written on a spectra from

pale thighs to a golden tan,

interrupted only by the

faint creases of scars from

living life too hard,

and no, I did mean that

living in the suburbs can be dangerous

no, the danger is not affluenza

it’s the paper cuts of standards

it’s the silent eraser of expectations

that wears away paper kids until they die

and no, I did mean dead

because we cannot be recycled

no, we are not recyclable



because we have unique stories

and no, they are not like fairy tales

because I have no golden locks

I’ve gotten burned by more than just porridge

and I’m trying to find my “just right”

just read, it’s printed on my paper folds

because our lives are inked differently in this town

and no, I did not say drawn in bright chalk

but inked, bloodstains on the insides of my veins

describing the whole picture of my life

and no, the picture is not pretty but

beauty is still written all the same

even if we are not all the same

we paper people have words

as meaningful as anything else,

as special as the city and the prairie

we’re not supposed to have,

yet their words tell me

how paper the pleasant,

how pleasant the paper

people would crumple in the wordless, paper towns.