You Read My Poetry

You read my poetry.


Not the kind of poetry I spend hours on, tweaking every word, checking all of my spelling,

But that crap I wrote in middle school

Just as my mind began to darken

And my thoughts began to spiral.


I don’t think you know about that time.

About how I felt like my insides were melting

But I couldn’t let my outsides show it.

About how my life had been disintegrating 

Like a dried up flower that’s too delicate to touch.

About how my whole world had been sinking into a quicksand of lethargy

From which it would take years to escape.


I don’t think you knew any of that

Because you read my poetry.

Out loud.

To someone else.

While I was there.


You read my poetry.


You liked it. 

I think.

You read my inner thoughts that I can’t believe I’d turned in, 

Even though I’d only written it because I was told I had to.

My thoughts about terrible things

Like death

And global warming 

And the inevitable death of our planet


And about stupid, silly things

Like how “alligators ate my array of ants.”


But you didn’t pay attention to that part.


You read my poetry

That I wrote about you.


Well, to be fair, it was about your mother

And your grandmother

And my great grandmother

And losing all of them.

In my poems, I talk about you.

You cried.

I did, too.


But now, I never see you cry.

Have you forgotten how?

Sometimes, I think I have.


You read my poetry.

And that makes me want to laugh and cry and scream and punch something

And hug you.

Because you liked it.

I think.


I still write poetry.

Only now, it’s not going to end up in some seventh-grade anthology

Sent home with a stack of assignments at the end of the year

For you to throw away or keep or whatever it is you do with them.


Now, I write poetry that you’ll probably never see. 


But if you did, would you read it?

Would you know it’s about you?

I’m sure you would. 

Would you be embarrassed? 


Would you tell me you like it?

I’m not sure.


I hope you don’t read my poetry.

Not anymore.

I hope you read other poems and love them and think of me as you do

But I hope you don’t read mine. 


Here’s why:

You read my poetry.

Not the light-hearted, fun, happy rhymes

But the dark, deep, scary stuff. 


You read my poetry, and you liked it.

I think.


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