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"Reflections" by Lucia Rose Dahn

growing up, I never heard anyone talk about growing up as tragic

bittersweet challenging complicated, yes, but look at it, isn’t it quite tragic, really?


tragically beautiful how simple years can age you,

how some make it out unscathed, but others’ bodies become forever frozen in a moment

how we hope for the future and then one day begin to miss the past.


I miss when I could love without reason, feel without shame that there was something wrong in wanting to hold someone until it felt like our hearts were one


tragic how we learn to forgive,

how we say we’re healing without knowing what the words really mean,

how we never really know most things, really.


tragic to be sorry but I am

sorry that this world became too real too soon and pink skies faded to gray and now any pink sky now seems like an occasion for celebration

sorry I let you down and picked at your skin so that your face is permanently scarred with marks that no matter what you do seem impossible to love

sorry I stopped reading and forgot the names of the enlightenment thinkers and the capitals of every country in africa and europe

sorry I stopped playing the piano, but I want you to know that every time I hear music, I see pictures swirling around me, and I hear voices, a choir of voices overlapping and harmonizing like angels guarding the gate to heaven,

a gate I don’t think I’m able to get into anymore


tragic that sometimes despite our best intentions, things just happen,

and I want you to understand that there are moments when you can’t move forward no matter how badly you want to,

and you can know what’s right for you and still choose the opposite,

and I know you never understood that but maybe one day you will

because sometimes you’re inching closer and closer to the intersection and you hit the accelerator only when the oncoming car is close enough

and you’re happy they saw you before anything worse happened but at the same time---


and I know that’s the type of thing that never made sense to you, but maybe one day you’ll be racing down the highway

eyes looking up and watching,

but not really watching, and it’ll all click tragic

to think like this


I don’t want to keep apologizing because sorry

makes it seem like I did something wrong, like growing up is something that warrants an apology letter, and growing up should not be a confession or repentance, a prayer uttered at your bedside on your knees


please don’t pray for me - I figured it out alone - but isn’t it tragic

how we try to figure it out alone


so I’ll believe that maybe this was the way it needed to be

maybe this was who I needed to be.


“Sofia, do you hear me?” Mami whispers from the kitchen, her delicate hands gripping the spoon as she stirs the picadillo in a bath of tomato. The smell wafts through the living room corridor and enters my room.


“I do.”

“Your essay won’t write itself.”

“I know.”


The question blinks back at me on the page.


Supplemental Essay Prompt #2:

What is one truth you would share with your childhood self?


“Any ideas?” She asks, as I enter the kitchen. But now my sister is tugging at her white apron and the timer for dinner is ticking down. . . 5 4 3 2 1.


tragic how things change

how you we me they I

past & future & tragedies & apologies

it all blurs together when you’re so afraid to let the truth

fall

out.


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