She was tall and skinny, lanky really.
Could have been pretty, given the right
clothes, hair, makeup; to be honest
I had to pull out my high school yearbook
to remember what she looked like.
She was not smart, she was
an eighteen year old sophomore.
I always wanted to ask if it hurt
when her body twitched uncontrollably.
She most likely had a mild form of torrents,
but her family could not afford
proper medical treatment so her head
would accidentally bang against the desk.
I remember Spanish class being one
of the few places I actually felt cool in high school.
I sat at my desk trying to conjugate verbs,
looking behind me watching her head convulse,
I mocked what she couldn’t control.
She threw her pen hitting me in the head.
I picked it up, shoved it in my bag
told her she was a retard and mimicked
her shaking body. I remember watching her
hold back tears. I may have humiliated her
but she never let me take her pride.
On the high school popularity scale
I was somewhere towards the bottom,
but she was even lower than me
somehow that gave me the right
to throw stones through her window of self-worth.
And now I write about being a victim of bullying,
my poems are hypocrites, it’s true.
I cried listening to Jamie Nabozny’s story.
Screamed in outrage the day
an 11 year old body was found
dangling from his third-floor railing.
Fell to the floor when I found out
Tyler Clementi’s bully will serve jail time.
I am appalled when I see schools
doing nothing to make sure children are safe.
I remember feeling bad about what I had done,
I will never have the opportunity to apologize
When her car slid under the trailer of the truck
I want to know if her life flashed before her eyes.
I want to know if her last thought was happy.
I want to know if her death was truly an accident,
or if she found a way to leave this world
without writing her loved ones a poem.
When they pulled pieces of her body
from the wreckage; the only way to identify her
was the license plate. Her father was
on the ambulance driving to the crash site
they had to pull his thrashing body from the vehicle.
This is the hardest poem I have ever written,
the thought that I may have hurt
someone so bad they would want to take their life
has been consuming me for weeks.
My chest tightens with shame.
I can feel the tar in my fingertips,
all I want to do is explode.
Go ahead judge me; go ahead break me.
We all have things we regret
and the ones who don’t
are either lying or too blind
to see the ones they stabbed willingly.
We focus on our own pain,
failing to mention the ones
we wrapped in barbed wire
and pushed down a hill.
The ones we shove aside
to make room for shinier skin.
Her face was so mangled, the mortician
sculpted a new one from wax.
They pulled shrapnel from her arms
the day they laid her casket in the ground,
school was canceled, I didn’t attend the service
but watched one by one as people
who treated her worse than I
walked out on their education
like their sins would somehow vanish
and tonight, as I sit in my parents’ house
I wish I had done the same.
The yearning to change
what has already been done
strips my stomach clean.
If she were alive
would I feel remorse?
Would I want to face her?
I heard, she got married.
I heard, she was thinking
about starting her own family.
I heard, she was finally happy.
These thoughts tear through me
as I stand over her grave.
I place white tulips on the stone
whisper, “I am so sorry
for the way I treated you.”
A gentle breeze makes the hair
on my arms stand upright,
I like to think she heard me.