Mary-Kate Wilson

Washington Latin PCS

Grade:

11

Hometown:

Chevy Chase, DC

Birthplace:

Washington, DC

Favorite Author or Book:

"Leaflets" by Adrienne Rich

Dream for the Future:

To never stop writing, being creative, and making new things

Inspirational Figure:

My mom

Instructions to the Artist

This poem was inspired by Billy Collins’ 1977 poem, also titled “Instructions to the Artist.”

First and foremost: I want no gray, if possible.

If I have any neutral tones on my body,

the space between my fingers

or the dark under my tongue,

make them bubblegum pink.

Make the rest

the color of my teeth beneath a blacklight.

 

My hands should look like something graceful

sits on the tips of them,

like ballet around the edges.

Do not give me harsh lines,

do not cut my softness apart.

 

Keep it in the space under my eyes,

murky and purple, squished between two halves of a smile.

I want to look how a clementine tastes,

in the last second before you throw away the peel.

 

Make me like venus,

but lazy after her day at the beach,

give me freckled shoulders

and eyes the color of marbles,

make my body a paper doll clipped from cardstock,

give the teacup beside me

red lipstick stains.

 

The viewer will know that I am the youngest sister

because of the way my neck bends

like I am balancing a slip of paper

between my shoulder blades,

like I slept in the smallest bed.

 

I would like my portrait sent by mail.

I would like a pair of scissors and a new gluestick,

I would like to make it something new.