Reasons This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

August 23, 2012
So, because his lips are suddenly
Glued together,
And because his mouth is suddenly
Drier than the Sahara,
He flees out the back door.
The boy can’t breathe.
He almost laughs.
Because it’s kind of funny, once you step back and think about it.
I mean, how often do your own lungs rebel on you?
It’s ridiculous how he forgot something as simple as breathing.

And then he starts to think of trivia,
Because it’s something he’s good at.

How many domestic silkworm cocoons does it take to make a tie?
What was Walt Disney’s ironic fear?
What are the Kings in a deck of cards named?
Alexander, Caesar, Charles, and David.

That’s it.
Just breathe.

He looks around:
Looks at the trees,
The pond,
The moon,
Because these are familiar things.
Because he knows they will always be there.

And then he flounders toward the pond
Because he has a wild urge to see himself.
To make sure he’s still him, that’s he’s still there.
(It doesn’t make any sense, but what does in life?)
The moon gives off just enough light for him to see his reflection.
It’s not him.
Because the man, boy, person staring at him can’t be him.
Because the person staring back at him has scary eyes.

He has wild eyes.

And the person staring back at him looks insane.
And the person staring back at him looks awfully, impossibly small.

Impetuously, he grabs a rock and flings it into the pond,
Distorting his image.
Because he can’t look.
He doesn’t want to see that man, boy, person anymore.

What is a fear of long words?

He’s on the ground now, curled in a fetal position.
All he can think is: How? How did I let it go this far?

He opens his mouth to scream.
Only a strangled guttural sound escapes.
That’s when he knows it’s over,
That he’s pushed too hard.

So all he can now is suffer the consequences
And scream silently
And beg without words
And pray that someone, anyone,
Will care enough to listen…
Care enough to save him.

His vision blurs and his throat tightens.
And just this once, he allows his impassive mask to break.
And just this once, he allows his poker face to crumble.
And just this once, he allows his facade to shatter.
The tears fall.
Because… Well, just because.

Join the Discussion

This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

Basya44 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 31, 2012 at 12:13 am
This resonates with me so much. "Because these are familiar things.Because he knows they will always be there."  That is such a profound concept- that people turn to physical things such as a pond, or ice cream when they feel afraid, hurt or confused. I wrote a poem called "denial" about somebody who runs away and denies who they are, and when it slaps them in the face ( like the reflection in your poem) they feel sick with disgust at who they turned into but never m... (more »)
DreamInVintage replied...
Aug. 31, 2012 at 5:43 pm
Thank you so much for your comment! You're absolutely right - that concept was what I was going for and I'm so glad you got it. I'll definitely check your poem out after its been posted :D
pandagirl312 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 25, 2012 at 8:44 am
I admit, I am one to look at the length of a poem before reading. This one was worth every word. Once I began, I was hooked until the end. I really like the use of line spacing and ambiguity in the poem. You are not told why he has wild eyes or why he doesn't like himself, so it's open to interprete. Great work! :)
DreamInVintage replied...
Aug. 25, 2012 at 9:55 am
Thanks so much for your comment! Your feedback means a lot to me :)
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback