• Natalie Harrell


Updated: May 5

The boy

with limbs like loose string that was left out of the cable-knit sweater I wear as if it is my life line leaned in,

begging to be included too, wanting to have an influence on the people in the circle of chairs.

Instead of expecting to sit with the rest, I laid in the center.

They were forced to stare at


and banged their fists when they agreed or avoided eye

contact altogether.

I walk home in the middle of the street. Look left, right, then left

again. This will keep you safe.

I like playing with fire

and being alone,

still, I hope to make an impact on those who are

never around

because maybe then I would receive flowers and clapping hands

from the ghosts of the past, the whispering souls who forgot mine existed.

I lay on my mattress like it is the middle of the circle and stare at the ceiling, imagining the morning sky in its place. I wonder why I love people when I know I would rather fall in love with stories of the past, the words between pages, and the ever

changing world than to feel pain again.

Yearning for change, but more than that, yearning for the ability to embrace change

without fear.

So I decide to cut my bangs instead of continuing to grow them

because people hate when you change who you are and because I

forget the reason I cut them in the first place was to become unrecognizable to the past. Again, I crawl in my bed, it is warm. You were warm and all I wanted was to be held by you. You are cold and all I want is to be held by who you once were. In my dreams your arms are inviting and I want to crawl inside of you and never reveal my hiding place to the rest of the world. Still, I wake each morning and look outside at the falling leaves, reminding me, our season is over. As I hold the browned flower, I still hope to see summer again.

Natalie Harrell

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