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Dear E

It used to be that I would have mentioned
Attempting an epistolary poem about you
And you’d have given a snorting laugh,
Amused groan, confused stare
But maybe been a bit gratified too
I know I was when you typed the story
About the contact lenses
On the glossy paper (the way I told you to)
And dedicated it to me

But it’s different now
You were with me in lang
You’re with me now in lit
And we don’t cross paths
And we don’t speak
But I watch you when you’re turned away
And wonder why I have no idea
Who you are

I’ve been told it’s good to tell the truth
That everyone is happier that way
But I disagree
Because you wouldn’t want to hear
That when you walked down those stairs
At prom last weekend
It hurt to see her arm through yours
Even though I don’t know you
And the last time we laughed
Was when someone else told you a joke
And I happened to overhear

You wouldn’t want to hear my truth
Which is that, had we uprooted five years ago
And planted it down last week,
It would have been my arm through yours

Do you remember the email assignment
That started it all?
How Mr. Nibbe waited to respond
For weeks
So you passed the time writing to me?
Every day I watched
For the black scrawl of your name
To materialize with the image
Of that unopened envelope
And it always arrived
Nibbe’s answer came
And neither of us went

Love? Was it love?
Probably not really,
Probably in the fake,
Childish way
That seventh graders love
It was the exhilarating combination
Of knowing you liked me
And of never having liked before
Or since
Your smile shouted my importance
To the world
And your ears and eyes
Devoured every word I formed

The day we walked home together –
That’s my favorite memory
Even though we were only kids
And only discussing Harry Potter
Then you turned away
At the corner
And I realized I hadn’t known
Where you lived
But now you were home

I wish you’d kept on walking
With me
Or that I’d listened to the girls
Laughing from behind
Who urged “Go hug him”
I wish I had
Hugged you

We had one perfect school year
Nine months of sharing robot stories
A love of verbs and nouns and syntax
Dissection labs
And fractions in the advanced group
Theories and dreams and jokes
And 100% on a partner test
About the price of hamburgers


Can you tell me what changed?
Because eighth grade rolled around
And we didn’t speak
And I don’t know why
Since I still loved you
You never looked me in the eyes
And when it accidentally happened
Your gaze wasn’t icy - angry
It was vacant and glazed
Which was worse

That was the year my stepdad
Bought your father’s BMW
He still has it
And I think, whenever I see it
About how we both pretended
That we had never been
Anything but classmates

You didn’t grin and send me emails
Like you used to
Writing “Hi, just saying hi,”
Or “Let’s watch Jordan do cartwheels


While Aaron asks Anna to the dance”




Kuhnen tossed us together
For the first group assignment of lang
And your words were carefully weighted
And your vocabulary had catapulted
To a new level of sophistication
And left me floundering behind
I think that’s the first time
That we didn’t seem like equals anymore

We were in the same group for Career Days too
You – the aspiring man of satire
Me – what? What was I?

Even this year
I’m forced to listen to your deep laugh
And analyze your measured thoughts
We worked in a group with Julia last week
And you said things I didn’t understand
And only looked at me while I explained
“A Raisin in the Sun”
Which you’d forgotten

All I’ve wanted to say to you
Since the first day we didn’t speak
Is that I’m sorry if I did something wrong
Or if you drifted away
And that I’ve missed you
Every single day



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