Last summer, I was certain

That black ink scattered across crisp

White pages would be my future,

That ambition was all I needed to succeed.

I thought it would be enough but red lines crossed my pages,

Rejection after rejection.

I used to want to write stories

Every day of my life

Because, really, what is life without stories?

And I guess I still do but now

They’re just words scribbled in a diary

And they don’t mean anything and never will.


Still, I’m trying but every day the cursor

Sits there, blinking mutely, defiantly,

Until I close my computer in defeat,

Eyes aching from the glaring light of my screen

As though I’m being interrogated.

I used to think that words would never fail me

That they would always be there

But now I barely read except for class

And even classic love stories begin to blur together until I read

The same sentence again and again.

I’m just going through the motions,

Coffee then class then carrot sticks,

Pretending I’m taking care of myself,

Saying yes to everything that comes my way.


I stayed up too late again last night.

And, I mean, I finished my to-do list so I’m fine,

I swear. There’s nothing to worry about.

But I didn’t talk and I stared at the blood on my toe

Where my skin was supposed to be,

Where I couldn’t stop picking at it,

Where I finally felt something even if it was pain.

I went to all my classes and asked questions like normal

And no one could tell the difference, not even my therapist.

Except then I missed an assignment and I didn’t know what happened

Because I swear, that’s not me, that’s not who I am,

Oh God, I’m a failure, I’m nothing, I’m worthless.


I stopped answering texts and I hid where I knew

No one would ever find me–it’s ok, I’m fine, I promise–

Skipped dinner because, really, it’s disgusting anyway

And why waste a meal swipe for a cup of Diet Pepsi?

So what if the skin around my nails is shredded and

I’ve chewed a hole in my lip

And I drink more coffee than Lorelai and make jokes

That maybe I shouldn’t make?

So what if I start walking while the light’s still green,

Ignore the headlights coming my way

Because I’ve always made it before and why should that change now?


I walked back across campus alone and

Maybe that’s how it should be.

I’ve probably scared everyone off because,

If I hate how needy I am, they probably do to

And really I can’t blame them.

But tomorrow’s a new day and I’m

Determined that it’ll be better because the

Weather calls for sun and the earth is

Still warm and green and the

Next page is blank and I’ve promised myself to

Begin the story again.


Anna Stowe

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