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Letters

It is only a letter
A solid, beautiful letter
A bold, vertical slash
A pair of halfhearted
Horizontal additions
Black on white
Usually pleasant
Employed for
“friend” and “fun” and “forever”
I’ve never seen it this way
Devilish – red
Penned in my teacher’s scrawl
It sears me
First, it’s impossible
You have the wrong victim
I’ve never deserved such a letter
Then it’s heartbreaking
I’m utterly, irrevocably defeated
A dark abyss stews
Where my soul once was
Memories of past successes
Hopes for future ones
Swirl together into an irretrievable mess
Slip out of my skin like gluey slime
Laugh or cry?
There’s a gnawing pain
In my throat; I blink
It’s absurdly funny, too
Me
And then I feel stupid
It’s only a letter
I’m skin and bone and sinew
It’s only a bit of ink
It only means something
Because I’ve been told so
Because my mother
Used to smile
When she didn’t see this symbol
On the papers they said
Were important measures
Of my growth
Some people sit in shock
The vocal ones are used
To such a result
But take the opportunity
To vent again
The silent ones are realizing
That their tongues have expanded
And gone dry
And they can’t form the words
To express this inner turmoil
Fluorescent lights bear down
On our black desks
While we gaze incredulously
At flimsy little pieces of paper
I scan it, flip it over
C
Every single answer, was –
C
Another lovely letter




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