Thursday, November 22, 2012

Shaina's words

Sunday, Shaina's memorial will be held in Charlotte. We are Carolina girls, after all. It's where we were born, where we grew up, where we made many good memories. When Shaina left Charlotte to get her first of three transplants in Dallas, she left her innocence behind. Going through her things, we found this poem Shaina wrote a few years ago about missing Carolina... tomorrow, we leave to take her home.

by Shaina Johnson

in my mind im goin to carolina
sweet carolina with easy smiles and relentless laughter
first loves
shadow streaked streets and
pavement burning  virgin feet
your succulent barbeque and spicy slaw atop fluffy white buns dripping
onto breasts mixing with tiny beads of sweat
washed down by sugar spiked tea over bunny ice.
sweet carolina with tarheel blue skies
preaching god and basketball,
cul-de-sac dreams
i ran through your sprinklers and let sharp wet itchy blades of grass cling to my calves
i plucked warm plums from the branches of your trees and let them burst between
sticky lips and teeth,
did the same with teenage kisses on summer roads
to the
soundtrack of content crickets hidden in nests of your fragrant
pine needles.
sweet carolina where at sweet sixteen i drove your cityscape
windows down
music up,
songs escaping from ecstatic lungs.
where i splashed in muddy creeks and made shelter of your fallen branches
where i created imaginary idealistic worlds of electrical-box stoves leaf-strewn floors and
ceilings that sunlight shines through
sweet carolina where i spent evenings past
bedtime with my
big sister, crouched beneath white canopy beds
our ears pressed to cold metal floor vents to hear
classified adult conversation.
where language only a sister could understand was
passed through whispers between silky sheets
and onto innocent hearts where they converted into muffled giggles.
sweet carolina where every toad could become a prince if only i kissed it,
if only i
where shadows could be boogey men
and city lights and fireflies twinkled like temples of possibility.
where strawberries grew around tree stumps
and stained our fingers red come summertime.
carolina where autumn smells of sunday football games, street food, and beer breath
carolina where big gulps of winter air burn your chest to
remind you that
where wide open spaces east of bum fuck become perfect places for
parties around bonfires where
flames lick the faces of young men
whose lips taste like marijuana smoke
and whose hands feel like home.
sweet carolina where summers rainstorms mute panoramic landscapes
and hang heavy in the sticky air
long after the last drop has
where thunder rolls across neon treetops and incites
manic afternoons that give birth to glorious poems.
i left you   without a chance to say goodbye
goodbye to your
streets to your kisses
your bbq/sweet tea induced comas
relentless laughter
tarheel blue skies
gentle summer rains
cricket symphonies
scalding pavement
and innocence.

sweet carolina where a lifetime was lived
was learned
sweet carolina where my hearts remains


  1. I had the opportunity to know Shaina during our time together at Northwest School of the Arts. We meet while rehearsing for the Lion, Witch and Wardrobe in the 6th grade. She was the perfect Tumnus, I was a decent Lucy,and Shaina stole the show as the Faun who so kindly helped Lucy into Narnia. Very similar to our story of friendship. While I admit sadly we lost touch after middle school I never forgot her or the memories we shared. I still have a book of poems she wrote for my 13th birthday. I remember her amazing handwriting (so small and elegant, completely opposite of mine) and her incredible, touching words. She was such a talent. I always looked at her with such admiration. She was so beautiful and to this day one of the most inspirational people I ever knew. After hearing the news of your loss I have spent the last hours reading and reflecting on your story. I am truly amazed at her strength and the strength of your family. Your words and the brave fight you have all made is such an inspiration to me. I am so sorry for your loss and I will thinking of your family during this time. Thank you for sharing and for allowing me to reconnect to the beautiful memories I had with your sister.