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Young Writers Project: Plaid Shirt

Susan Reid
Ella Staats, a sophomore at Burlington High School, writes about discovering a friend’s shirt under her bed where it’s been hidden and collecting dust for two years.";s:

Plaid shirt

By Ella Staats, Age 15, Burlington


You probably didn’t think

you’d ever hear from me again.

Maybe you didn’t pick up

because you lost my number

and the one flashing on your phone screen

is foreign to your eyes.

Remember when we used

to know those digits by heart?

I still do, I think.

You probably don’t.

That’s okay.

I only called because I found that shirt –

the plaid one with the beige buttons –

that you left at my house

two summers ago.

It was under my bed

and it made me think about

how that’s a perfect representation of our friendship.

Swept under the bed.

Into the dark, the dust,

the place where no bothers to look,

unless they’re searching

for something they’ve lost.

Sometimes things roll under

and you don’t bother fishing them out

because in the moment

you don’t need them.

That’s what happened to us,

isn’t it?

We were kicked beneath the mattress

and neither of us bothered

to crawl back into the light.

I guess that’s what I’m doing:

trying to get back to that place.

But it was summer when we disappeared,

and the sun in the summer is brighter

than that of the winter,

and I’m not sure I recognize

the snow-blanketed garden

or the icicle-trimmed rooftops.

If this is still the same place I left,

please call back.

Or even if you only want your shirt,

because I have that, too.

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