Less Cage More Safety Net This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

September 8, 2012
By , Ithaca, NY
On the days when I am afraid that my words
Will not be strong enough to blow out the candles
On my death day,
When I feel like a ghost just passing through this life,
When I feel my bones breaking
Under the crushing weight of inadequacy,
I leave behind marks however I can

I scrawl poetry on school-room desks
In permanent marker,
Knowing that word doesn't actually mean forever
But also knowing that's the closest anyone in this place
Will ever come to remembering me

I once pressed my fingertips into the drying cement
Trying to fill in the gaps of a crumbling staircase
That wasn't ready to give up yet,
So that anyone who climbed those stairs
And looked down would realize
That someone else felt like they'd never reach the top too,
But hardly anyone ever looks down

I took a knife out into the middle of the woods,
Went to the tallest tree I could find,
Carved my name into the trunk and scratched two parallel lines
Into the most arm-like branch I could find,
Like the metaphor would make me hurt less,
Like seeing something else with scars
Would make me feel less alone,
Like if I am broken then everything else must break too,

And I finally understand why you left,
The moon must get tired of only being able to shine
When the sun is feeling good about itself,
Maybe that's why she only comes out during the night,
And even then she is hardly ever all there,
Trying to look like less of a threat,

I am trying to be less cage and more safety net,
And I am just now realizing that
There is more than one way to catch someone
And Ive been doing it wrong all these years;
From now on I will try to hold my holes to your whole
And say, look how beautiful you are,
Feel free to shine whenever you want to

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

Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

monkeyluvs2write said...
Nov. 10, 2014 at 7:37 pm
The best poems in my opinion are the ones that introduce a new twist half way through the poem and the reader doesn't expect it, yet after reading it, the reader wonders, how come I didn't expect that. This is one of those poems.
SunshineLove said...
Nov. 10, 2014 at 4:10 pm
Incredible. I know I'm going to be reading this again just to understand it more completely. Your gift for words is unique, thank you. 
Naomi S. said...
Jul. 12, 2014 at 9:37 pm
This is really beautiful. The rhythm that this poem has is unique and it flows really well. The eloquence of your words allowed me to see the story as I read it, and that's the most amazing part of all good poetry.
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