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the hand written letter

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she read and reread and read again
until her eyes burned
and she memorized every stinging word.
the hand writing was sloppy and careless
like she didn’t really matter,
like she was a chore.
she coughed the idea away
and pretended it didn’t hurt her.
she pretended she wasn’t sad,
and she thought to herself that
maybe if she wipes away the pain
that it will never come back.

her mother could see something was wrong,
she saw her daughter frightened,
but not the scared frighten you get
when you watch a scary movie, the
i’m-nervous-and-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-myself
fear that holds you in place all day and makes
daily tasks seem like year-long struggles.
her knuckles cracked and cracked but she
didn’t realize that because she was too busy
staring off into the wind.

when they asked her what was wrong
and she said nothing, they watched her deeply,
searching for the one flaw she had in her
nothing-is-wrong-with-me story.
they didn’t believe her, not that she thought they would.
and as she left she said “goodbye” and “thank you”
even though she meant
“good-riddens” and “i can’t believe i wasted my time here”
as she got up, the letter fell out.
the physician found what he was looking for,
asked “what is that?”
her fists clenched and her mouth dried.
“nothing.”
“what is that?”



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