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Young Writers Project: No One Knows

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Erin Lashway

Erin Lashway, a frequent writer on youngwritersproject.org, has just completed her sophomore year at Mount Mansfield Union High School in Jericho. Erin says that “in a moment of dejection” she “hastily scratched this poem into a notebook, then put it away for a little while, forgotten. Upon rediscovering it a week later, she realized she was ready for her story to be heard.”

No One Knows
By Erin Lashway
Grade Ten, Mount Mansfield Union High School

She undresses alone in the bathroom.
They mock her, call her “prude” and “self-conscious.”
Nobody knows that the little girl is embarrassed
Of the scars that streak her back.
She doesn’t know...that there will be more.
Fast-forward a few years.
She’s learned to adapt.
She changes into her costume with her back to them.
They gossip, whisper, and point.
Nobody knows that she can hear them.
She knows that there will be more,
And time goes on.
He puts his hand on the small of her back and they dance.
She wishes she could feel the warmth of his skin.
Nobody knows that her nerves are confused
And some parts are numb, others hypersensitive.
She’s afraid, but it could have been worse,
And days pass.
She’s changed since those days 
When she used to come home and cry,
Because someone asked her why
She was bent.
She’s learned to only look at the mirror straight on,
To not watch videos of herself.
She’s learned to protect herself...from herself.
She meets new people, greets them with a confident smile.
They question her “preemie?” “Genetics?” “Little.”
Nobody knows that her torso hasn’t grown since 6th grade.
She knows now that she’ll never be five feet,
And she doesn’t care.
The ones around her dream of riches, billionaires, and fame.
Her dream is of a man who will kiss her fears away.
She wants to watch him as he sees her scars,
And loves her more for it.
She wants to watch him kiss each of them
And call her beautiful.
The ones around her fear spiders, fire, drowning, fights.
The ones near her fear snakes, death, flooding, heights.
Yet her paranoia is to forever be alone.
They think they understand,
But no one knows, no one knows.

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