The Price You Pay

by Andrea Traietti on October 18, 2018


by Jessica Polanco ’20

wilted roses against a snowy backdrop
Photo Courtesy of missteee/

I am now destined to feed strangers.
Those who once knew me
Lost every trace of trust;
That has been lost in the dark skies
Under which I begged for all of this to become my reality.

To one day wake up in black, silk satin sheets—
And today, they cover my back as I stare
At the chandelier that glares
From the eyes of a man I married in the middle of this journey
Because we were once both teenagers,
At each end of this country waking up in the middle of the night
Hungry and in agony.
We dreamt of being served
Platinum platters of
Bedazzled seafood
And delicious-filled intentions.

He just married me to serve looks to the public,
And I said I do
For the same reasons, too.

This mansion is filled
With maids who don’t know my childhood name;
These marbled floors,
This view of the mountains resting on the ocean,
And this diamond ring
Is evidence
That you can die in heaven.

I’ve purified my hands
By the holiest of seas
But when the water slips
Through the cracks of my fingers,
I hear every soul I’ve abandoned to get where
I needed to be.
I hear my best friend saying
She doesn’t know who I am anymore.
My sister asks me if she even knew me at all.
From miles away, I trace
The voice of the boy who I love.
Tonight, he’s in bed with his back to his wife
Because I’ve broken all that he can be.
I stroll through the evergreen garden with a view
Of the reddest roses you’ll ever see
And feel my mother against my skin
Reminding me
That she is ashamed of me.

The corners of my eyes witness
A gallery of trophies
With my name shining on each edge,
And colorful books stacked
Stored with my truths.
I place one foot in front of the other
And carry out this burdensome pride
Into my Bentley coupe
And drive into the sunset
That kisses the 90210 city line.