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Grade
10

Everything is hopeless, my friend tells me.

She can’t see beyond how useless we seem to be, she says

because we’re insignificant and small and hardly here at all, how,

she asks, can she care about homework when are barely here and

nothing will ever be fair and how the hell are we supposed to care about a world

that may as well be dripping in blood red?

 

I wish I could tell her I get it, but

I’m not her and I will never be her and

she sees the world in a way that makes her sure of this

and so maybe,

I don’t get it.

 

but even if I did, I don’t know what I would say,

because how could I claim that things are ok when there’s more to be scared of every day,

when locking school doors isn’t enough anymore

and, maybe it wasn’t before, but right now,

it feels like the world is falling apart underneath our feet?

 

It’s the next day,

and the morning newspaper’s words spill off the paper

and cover the kitchen counter in grey,

spill into my cereal

and I imagine I can feel them stripping the teal out of my hair.

 

At lunch, another girl,

not the one who said she was hopeless, but someone who may as well have,

asks what the point is, of trying to focus,

sitting in class

after class

hoping no one will notice

that you just don’t care about the bonus question,

stuck inside listening to the prognosis of college, and future,

and what happens after,

when the future seems no better than the present?

 

I look for the right thing to say,

want to find words that won’t spill out of my mouth in more grey, but

my sentences drip from teeth and pool at the ground at my feet,

run down my boots until they cover the color in her shoes,

and so instead of trying to speak again,

I reach for the pink glitter pen in my backpack,

tell her when she feels like she can’t spend anymore time

in this colorlessness,

x’s and y’s can stain a sheet of math homework grey,

but no one can stop you from filling the rest with ridiculous glittery pink.

 

In history class,

our notes are smeared from writing too fast,

and the teacher is talking about the past

and perhaps

we just want to pass the next test but

we listen, too,

to the words that fall from her mouth onto our paper,

about people who are long dead

and so many lives will go unsaid and unmentioned

but the ones she tells us about stain our notebooks bloody red because

American history is sometimes just a three hundred year story of how awful people can be.

 

But I sit there,

and I think of hopelessness and pointlessness

and grey dripping from my shoes and red covering the news and

we’re surrounded by a world that’s losing color by the day and

I suppose I don’t know how to get rid of the grey, but,

I do my chemistry homework in purple pen;

my math homework in gold glitter

and maybe the grey will never be gone.

maybe the red is too strong to ever get rid of,

but, maybe, we don’t need to.

Because the ink from my gold glitter pen washes out of nothing,

so maybe

when the grey finally fades,

something else will stay.

Maybe one day, the words tumbling out of my mouth will fill the air with gold.

 

State
MI
Zip Code
48104