The Photograph This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   The Photograph

The icy light bears down,
shattering theslippery stage,
stinging my squinty eyes.
I stare out intoblackness,
bravely reciting lines
from someone else's heart.
Mybright wool hat is cocked to the side,
forced onto my head by a dozenneedles
atop a pair of bold, black pigtails.
A navyhandkerchief
strangulates my throat
but my voice resonates,unrestrained.
Despite dark drab colors
imposed by theteacher
on my light blue attire,
alienating my white clunkyboots,
my stubborn belt peeps through.
Behind, the coffee curtaincrinkles,
threatening to enclose me in its musty ripples,
whilecrescent of eyes
taunts me with its silence.
I turnaway
Nothing mattered
but me.

Some say "a child is neverfree"-
My closed, sheltered world
detached from reality
wedgedbetween chopsticks and pizza
patrolled by my parents -
Myrestrictive role in the circus
where I couldn't be me -
Mynine-thirty bedtime
and mandatory swimming lessons -
All testifyto my oppression.

Yet I stare at this young girl
untainted byhate
unaware of the portending loss
of her mother
and thelatent frustration
of her father,
a girl not yet exposed
toblonde-haired, long-legged models
in Seventeen,
a girl whosevocabulary was not burdened
by thewords
and term paper,
a girl whose onlyfear
was drowning in a pool,
not in tears.

I stare intomyself
and wonder
Was I really confined?
and I yearn
to stepin
to hold the sticky hand
of that girl
forever locked in thepicture.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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