Caitlan McLerran

United States

What If?

April 3, 2019

When we are born, we are given a pen
A pen embellished by our mothers and fathers,
A pen that we will hold in our back pocket until the ink runs out,
Allowing us to construct with rich vocabulary the life we choose to live,
And As we grow we can scribble in shaky lettering 
How much it angers us that our mom made us eat peas,
How our dad put us in time out,
Or how that one boy with goldfish crumbs dusted on his lips make us swoon,
Our parents let go of our hand,
No longer guiding every gentle stroke of black ink,
Our grips tighten and the tip of the pen dances along the edge of the page with urgency,
No longer chicken scratch but cursive, chaotic, 
We write about algebra and how deeply we hate it, ,
We write about the books that warm our souls,
We write about the pain,
The feeling of worthlessness, 
No longer fitting in,
Losing our friends,
We jot down the questions we have, the ones where we ask ourselves ‘what should I do?’ 
Or ‘why is this happening?’ 
we write about our frustrations, 
the sting of regret,
the times where we aren’t pretty enough for his attention, 
the times when we’re too emotional, too worried, 
the times when we care too much, or when we don’t care enough,
and our torment seeps through the dense metal of our pen and consumes it,
consumes us,
wrapping around our words like a snake, tightening and tightening until our writing is a cry for help,
a cry for love, a cry for faith, a cry for change,
we write and our lines are thick and dark, the pages as never ending as our anguish,
we write until our wrist feels as though it will break,
as we grow and change we write,
we write as if it’ll take away the pain,
and as our hand becomes sore, and our ink runs out,
we look back at our blackened pages with disdain,
for so long we asked a number of questions, but now all that echoes in our mind is 
‘what if’
what if we wrote of our giggles and laughs,
as we stumble and fall off our hot pink Barbie bikes,
what if we wrote of how beautiful our love was,
as we listen to the sweet melody our lover’s words performed for us,
what if we wrote of our happiness,
the smile on our mother’s face,
or if we wrote of our pride,
as we walk across that stage in our cap and gown.
I have a pen of my own,
A story to tell,
And as I look back at the dark smudges of guilt on my pages I wonder,
What if?
What if I decided to write of my felicity instead of my hurt?
What if I look out the window of my mind,
Swiping away at the fog with my gentle hands, 
And see the beauty,
See the rainbows,
And let the light of life enrich me with its warmth?
Pain had always captured me, 
For it’s great at tying knots, 
Pain wrapped its long bony fingers around my wrist,
Shielded my mind from light,
And told me that it would take care of my heart,
But I snatched my pen from pain and said 
This is my life, this is my story,
And no longer will I let you trap me in your shackles. 
Our smiles are more powerful,
And our hope more formidable,
Though life hurts,
And so many things suck, 
We have our own pen,
And if we want light in our life,
We must stand where the sun is shining,
What if we focused on the beauty of life and the gift each new day brings?
If you wrote a book of your life, would you enjoy the story?


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  • April 3, 2019 - 11:04am (Now Viewing)

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