The Renaissance of a Teenager

By: Achiraya Kurth

Pompeii red drains down my sink,

My fingertips stained with dye

Or the blood of those who harmed me.


I no longer recognize myself in the mirror,

The locks that once traced my back

Now barely reach past my shoulders.


I’m taking on a new identity.

“It’s the renaissance of a teenager” my mother fretted.

The rebirth of a child she herself birthed.


The seafoam and mint greens go straight into the hamper

And from the racks and spines of my closet

Hang obsidian and hickory brown.


Music blasts from my speaker,

Though it’s no longer the kind I can slow dance to.

They’re head tossers.


The kind of music I can scream along to,

In hopes of yelling over the voices in my head

Telling me who they think I should become.


The voices start off from my origin: my parents.

Then they trail off to my so-called friends,

Finally leading up to the people who cover the perimeters of every screen


And every billboard

For I must be reminded every second of every day

Of the unrealistic expectations that society expects me to uphold.


I suck my stomach in until it molds itself into an hourglass,

The concealer sitting on my countertop camouflages every insecurity 

That shouldn’t even be an insecurity in the first place.


My reflection is a hoax,

For no manmade object in this world can be trusted.

I want to resist the urge to look, but I relapse again and again.


So here I stand in front of my mirror,

A stranger looking back at me.

I mail her a frown


Yet she returns the package back with a disingenuous smile.

Inside the package was a little girl who loved herself

Yet the sender was the polar opposite twin of the child.


Could she be a version of myself 

That I’m finally satisfied with?

Or is the renaissance of a teenager 


Just a never-ending cycle.

A mere inconvenience

On my laborious path to self-identity. 

Art Piece “Lady Agnew with Mask” by Aniyah Lee