You and I: a poem

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You and I: a poem

By RUAA LABANIEH
Staff Writer

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(Illustrated by Ruaa Labanieh)

The worst kind of loneliness,

the overly crowded loneliness.

The one that creeps into my voice,

when I talk,

rotting my phrases.

The one I can never seem to escape from,

even when I am lost among crowds.

 

It snags on to my presence,

like loose vein-like threads,

unraveling my knitted insides.

I pull with frantic fingers

and uncoordinated yanks

as I try to untangle it from my

brass buttons.

 

I am pulled out of a box of color,

meaningless,

as they fill in my shades and hues

of this black and white world,

forgetting that I wish to be the grey,

the one in between.

 

I feel emptiness

when my bones rattle with fear,

when my knees drum against one another,

when my teeth grind and my lip trembles.

 

My body is an instrument,

playing the symphony

of loneliness and unease.

I taste loneliness when

my mouth moves in desperate rhythms

against his,

the last-minute stranger,

the one who vanishes

when my eyes open to meet the sun.

 

I am lost and at their door,

as they roughly grab the slowly

fading

parts of me with the

softest, calloused hands.

 

With an embrace

tighter than my hand around my own throat,

you bring me back from the loneliness,

the overly crowded loneliness.

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