On Elementary School • Jeanette Hansen

The whole idea of it makes me feel

like they are controlling my life,

something worse than that first rumor

or the bruises I get from them-

a kind of disappearance of the spirit

a loss of the psyche

like someone sold my soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,

But that is because you have forgotten

How it feels to be judged by who you are

And not by what other people say you are like.

I can lie on my bed and remember how it started,

One of my dearest friends said that I stole the necklace she lost,

Then it turned into me showing up at her house at night,

Even though I had no idea where it was,

A week later they labeled me as crazy,

Then I was too disgusting to be human.

So now I am mostly swinging on the swing,

Watching all the people laugh at me and call me names.

Back then I never felt like I would die if I went back,

And the lies never spread as fast as they do today,

All of them being automatically believed.

This is only the beginning of it all, I say to myself,

As I hide from the world in my sweatshirt.

It’s time to figure out if I want to survive,

Time to figure out whether or not to do what they want me to do.

It seems like only yesterday I used to

Hear those words everyday

And hear them echo in my thoughts at night.

But now when they come back,

I remember how unrelenting they were,

And how if things went their way,

I would be dead.

Jeanette is a student at Franklin Middle School

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