Egan Barnitt is a freshman in the NHS. She is one of three spoken word poets highlighted in this week’s arts-themed digital issue. She performs this poem in a video above, and discusses it in this week’s “Fresh Voices” podcast.
From what I’ve gathered, you were born 25 percent gentle, 23 percent kind, 14 percent giving me your extra toothbrush, 7 percent open windows when it’s raining, 19 percent lost in a time you never saw, 5 percent loud laughter, 4 percent good people, 3 percent taped shut. 100 percent good.
So, it’s probably best that I tell you I was born 36 percent broken glass in cereal milk
And 20 percent shampoo in your eyes, always.
I was born 45 percent dropping your dog off at the kennel before a long vacation; sad
I was born 55 percent laying on your back staring at the snow at night pretending you’re hurtling through space; okay
I was born 2 percent slouched shoulders, 3 percent watery eyes, and the rest of me physically I prefer to pretend is not something quantifiable or else I will stop eating for quite some time
You see I was born 65 percent tin foil.
The easiest grocery store accessible thing in the world to shape how you want it and the hardest to unravel to what it once was after you have had your way with it
I was born 27 percent coffee stained falling apart at the seams high school journal
You’ll wish I was better and maybe more put together but I’ll listen and maybe make you look somewhat more artistic along the way
I was born 17 percent fresh cut grass
The smell that will wake you up in the morning with softness and smile into your neck gently and remind you it’s a new day and the sun is coming back even though I have only ever been a pile of something incapable of growing anymore lying in bed beside you in a loosely arranged collection of pieces that will still try to do meaningful things but will never believe in them herself
I was born 10 percent disappearing ink
Let me make you feel like I’ll be here forever then watch as I disappear into your sheets because I’ve worried myself too much that you didn’t want my stain there in the first place
I was born 8 percent blinding March snow and 11 percent warm spring sun
3 percent lukewarm beer and 6 percent hot water with honey
14 percent clicking radiator and 18 percent wet soil
8 percent runny nose and 9 percent stretch marks and still 87 percent soft all over
What I mean to say is that altogether I was born 444 percent not something you should keep letting wake up next to you.
That is to say that even when I try to do the math there is no logical explanation for why I shouldn’t keep letting myself wake up next to you.
Which is to say I’m just a kitchen sink pie chart of a girl who doesn’t know how to be delicate and I’m sorry.
All that I’m certain of is you were born 100 percent good.
I am 444 percent so afraid of just never being enough to give you.
Video credits: Danielle Hewitt (Executive Producer), Joy Kim (video), Mica Bernhard (audio)