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  • I never understood the sad eyes of the shy ones who clung to their mothers’ knees,
    but now innocence is dead
    and I’m a walking shell.
    I like it.
    The feeling of black silk slipping between my fingers
    as I run my hands down racks of expensive dresses
    or the cracked pavement under my bare feet
    as I walk home in the snow
    because no one is standing next to me telling me I shouldn’t.
    I like to touch things.
    And the shadows in my brain sink back for a few moments
    when I don’t have to be intelligent for them
    or organized for her
    or apathetic for him.
    My voice is small and fragile,
    beating once a minute,
    and the shopkeepers say,
    “Sorry sweetie, I couldn’t quite catch that.”
    I like to test people’s hearing.
    So go, you wayward wanderers.
    Go to your smoke-filled rooms and bright parties.
    Let me breathe in peace.
    Go, everyone.
    Go be with everyone else.
    I like to be alone.

    By Noa Urbaitel
    Grade 11, Champlain Valley Union High School, Hinesburg, Vermont
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