you can't cure this in a day

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Part I
you do not remember ever having been a child.
you remember knowing the feeling of childhood:
sticky, caramelled fingers
that were not yours,
smooth-as-silk ridges of beautiful-blonde-Little-Helen’s
braid as it was being pulled,
afternoon-long games of
hide-and-go-seek.

but most of all:
the sound of laughter,
leaking through sagging floorboards,
teasing, taunting, mocking.
you remember all of this,
but you don’t remember being that child.

perhaps you never were.

one thing you do remember:
you were always lost.
because when you were in that cellar,
suffocated by the silence and
drowned in the darkness and
unable to escape from it all,
there was only one place for you to go:
inside.

and it was sickeningly easy
for you to lose your way
in your mind.

you are lost still-lost always-lost.
makeitstop. makeitstop.
MAKE IT STOP.
god, please. anyone,

please.

you wonder if he can hear you,
if you’re pleading loud enough,
if you’re important enough,
if you even matter anymore.
because you still wake up,
screaming
at a quarter to four in the morning
and afraid.

somewhere inside of you,
you are still waiting for that knock on your door,
waiting to finally be
found and hauled away,
like you’re just another
dispensable, disposable, removable part
in the Grand Scheme of Things.






people tell you you’re lucky;
you didn’t have to see the bombs drop,
the cousins shot,
the friends and schoolyard enemies
dragged away to somewhere you
do not want to, cannot, will not imagine,
the mothers’ hollowed eyes, seeing
their baby daughters
burnt alive.

you tell them they’re right.
you’re so damned lucky it hurts.
it f****** hurts.
some nights it makes you feel like a coward.
some nights you really do feel alive.
but most nights you just feel
alone.

you know you’re lucky,
g********.
“i’m lucky. i’m lucky.
I’M SO DAMNED FORTUNATE,”
you scream because you want to believe it.
“i am.”
cogito ergo sum,
everyone says, nodding,
like it’s that easy for them,
like they know you.

you know you didn’t know what it was really like.
you know you weren’t beaten half-to-death,
weren’t forced to Work To Make Yourself Free,
weren’t experimented on, laughed at, stepped upon.
but you remember imagining it every night.

you also remember trying not to imagine it.
you remember the nightmares.
you still have them.

what you did know:
1. being some kind of alive
in a dark, damp cellar
with eighteen other two-to-thirteen-year-olds
wordlessly screaming for release.
2. someone out there, everyone
out there
wanted you and “your people”
dead.

what you did not know:
3. when you’d be able to see what
was out there again
or whether you’d even see it again
at all.
4. being able to sleep
because you were always afraid
and always hungry.

you hate it when people tell you
you’re not the same,
you don’t really know,
you weren’t really there,
you weren’t real.
you aren’t real.
because if you aren’t real,
what is?
are the nightmares real?
is the fact that you’re still hiding,
still not ready for that knock on your door,
still lost
real?

is the fact that you’re seventy-three years too old
to be afraid of the dark real?

you used to play hide-and-go-seek in the shadows
and pretend that your hiding place was just
too good
for the blond-haired blue-eyed to find you.
but the afternoon would always come to an end,
and they would always go home.

and you would always still be hiding
alone
in the dark.
and never found.

Part II
you are sixty-four years
and an ocean away
from what you were.

you had a friend,
Jacob-with-the-lamb-shaped-birthmark.
he wrote a letter
to the world,
but the world never saw it.

only you did.

this is what it said:
Maybe when you read this,
we will all be well-worn
well-fed
well-dressed.
Maybe when you read this,
I will be there, too,
and maybe we will all learn how to forgive
but not forget,
Never Forget.

But if I am not there,
if I am not there to forgive nor forget,
not there to say:
EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY,
I want to know that because of my story,
because of our story,
because we will no longer be here to tell all these stories,
the world has changed.
It might take
two, ten, fifty years
for it to happen.

But please,
if you still remember me,
tell me it has.

these are the things you see today:
bombs still being dropped,
cousins still being shot,
friends and schoolyard enemies still being dragged
to places where they will never be seen again,
mothers still having to watch their
baby daughters die.

you wish you could tell
Jacob-with-the-lamb-shaped-birthmark
Jacob-who-had-wanted-to-be-a-teacher-
or-maybe-a-dancer
Jacob-who-was-your-first-friend
Jacob-whom-you-loved
Jacob-who-froze-to-death-at-fifteen,
you wish you could tell him
the world has changed.

but you know it hasn’t,
and you aren’t entirely sure
if it even wants to.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Jennax3 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 20, 2009 at 4:35 am
This is extremely powerful. You got your message across, and it was written beautifully. This poem(s) leaves you with a chill... and not many poems can. Amazing job :]
 
kiwi12 said...
Aug. 20, 2009 at 12:57 am
This is absolutely amazing. It kept me reading to the very end. Amazing amazing amazing.
 
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