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Grief of the Living

Nina Sager '26

A day ago, you look at me, and laugh in unison,

Our voices erupting the halls and threaten the window glass,

The doors of rooms receded into place, escaping our noise,

Ours. Us. Ours.

I look into you and I know your laugh drained into cracks along the sidewalk I walk on alone.

Because now when you look at me,

I laugh in unison to the beat of my ever-pumping heart

And the tears I cry in silence.

I laugh to the rhythm of my feet chasing you

I laugh inward as my eyes scream with the redness of my cheeks and I watch you not look at me and I watch you leave me and I close my eyes and watch you disappear because I don’t want to see it as the truth of what it is

I wish you look at me as though I am a stranger who begs of your mercy

Who pleads at your feet

with open arms overflowing and spilling with sorrow

and the crucified ugly truth of

Every lie ever pushed out of mouths and rolled off of tongues

Of every scrape that feathered untouched skin and

every tear branded into rosy cheeks.

I wish you look at me as a burden you carry on your back

I wish you look at me, writhing under sun, dry and hot and I wish you look at me with hatred and anger and vain

I wish you look at me again

And you’d laugh in unison with me

And we’d stay and not become you and I separately.

I wish you look at me instead of through me.

I watch as you turn the corner,

And the whisper of you fades away.

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