Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Warning Signs

I walk into a room of people and begin to arm myself
Stand straight and tall, like a mountain that cannot be shaken by their words or judgment or by it’s own fear of the sky
Chest out, look bigger, maybe they’ll leave you alone.
Smile, they’ll take it as confidence
but I know that bared teeth are a warning sign
I’ve fallen for that trick
I’ve played that game and lost.

Do I have good posture?
Or is my body swollen with the things I have suppressed?
I have bite marks on my tongue
From all the words I’ve never said
From the times I needed to say “It’s not okay”
And replaced it with a smile.
With bared teeth
With a warning misinterpreted

Do not misinterpret this warning
My smile is not a welcome mat.
I will not be trod on anymore
These teeth that are so small and white
Are hazard lights in a dark night.
Do not ignore this warning
I cannot be trod on anymore.

My fingers are boney from all that I have given you
That you have not returned.
My throat is parched from the words you haven’t said.
My eyes are tired from looking for your face in the crowded room.
The skin beneath blooms a new shade of violet from another late night,
Unable to fall asleep until I know you are home.

My heart aches with the knowledge of what should have been
And it is heavy under the weight of what will be.
Our love has taken longer to sink than I expected,
But even when it is buried under the water, I think I will haunt the corridors.
I think I will search for the misplaced potential, for the misunderstanding, for the misinterpretation.
Our love was the Titanic. We ignored all the warning signs.




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