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One of my methods of developing fictional characters is having them write poems about each other. I’m currently working on a short story about two teenage girls who are best friends, so the following two poems are an exercise about them and their emotional bond. It was fun to step out of my personal poetic voice and let them speak in their own voices.

 

Friendship

We help each other all the time
but that’s not why we’re friends

That’s how we became friends
not why

We hang out all the time
trading stories, laughing,
sharing secrets, eating
but that’s not why we’re friends

That’s what we do
not why

Friendship involves action
but action is just the plot

Stories, like friends, are more than a plot
They are the feelings they give you

Something happens in your heart
and you never see life the same after

She’s my friend because of how I feel
when we’re together or even when we aren’t
She’s with me in my thoughts
and it isn’t a short simple word like love

One word isn’t enough
to describe what happens when music plays,
your heart sings with it, and for a few minutes
anything seems possible

Connected, not alone
Energized, not tired
Uplifted, not beaten down
Trusted and accepted

Maybe that’s why we’re friends
Or maybe it can’t be explained
like a mystery novel with the pages torn out
or how no two calico cats have the same markings

The world would seem empty without her
and I would feel
like a piece of myself
was missing

 

Daredevil

She’s always been braver than me
rougher, wilder, reckless
like a mustang on the open plains
running toward the fire instead of away

She never backs down from a fight
maybe she even looks for one

The world needs people like her
because so much is wrong with it and
someone
needs to do something about it

I imagine she could be anything
anything she dared or was willing to fight for

I imagine she will always be free
the way a trapeze artist escapes gravity for a minute
but the minute lasts forever

I’m here on the ground where things are safe
while she flies up there
inspiring me

making me feel like I could be anything, too
like I could be free
if I dared

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