What Could Have Been | Teen Ink

What Could Have Been

December 4, 2011
By otherpoet SILVER, Wayland, Massachusetts
otherpoet SILVER, Wayland, Massachusetts
6 articles 9 photos 254 comments

Favorite Quote:
"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone." - Audrey Hepburn

She lies on her bed,
studying for a test weeks away.
From one prominent rib,
to the next,
skin is stretched like a xylophone on her stomach.

Her radio clock glows a green 7:30.
Methodically she rises.
She walks up the carpeted stars to turn on the shower.
Warm rain awakens her, different from the constant chill.
As she scrubs her emaciated frame, self-doubt gnaws on her soul.

Now 16 years old,
she leaps and twirls, mirrors are her constant coach.
They scream at her.
They torture her.
They are unyielding in their criticism.
Feet thump against the polished floor and she does her best not to see.
But as she pirouettes, her sunken eyes can't ignore their draw.

Inner demons cry out,
like the piercing shriek of a wrong clarinet fingering,
"What must I be to please you?"
she asks, but she knows the answer.
Be nicer.
Be smarter.
Be skinnier.
Be Perfect.

This is all she knows.
This is all she hears.
Hiding in flowing waves of fabric brings peace,
the shrill RING! of the lunch bell brings terror.
And at 16
she pushes her peas around her plate like she did at six.

This game she plays,
herself and the voices in her head,
will never end. She will never win, never get bored.
For in this game, there is always room for improvement.

Now 17
she lies in the sterile white linens.
Hooked up to a machine that keeps a metronomic beat.
Her gaunt face no longer beautiful.
Her legs no longer able to support her ill body.
Still the demons cry out until they will never be heard again.

Be nicer.

Be smarter.

Be skinnier.

Be Perfect.

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This article has 8 comments.

on Nov. 3 2012 at 9:19 pm
TaylorWintry DIAMOND, Carrollton, Texas
72 articles 0 photos 860 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there's a light shining somewhere nearby." - Unknown

The entire time I read this, I had images of the girl in my head. Having suffered through the same type of thing, this story is very relatable to me. As a fellow clarinet player, your descriptions that relate to clarinets and music really struck a chord with me. (No pun intended.) You are a superb writer. Keep writing, and good luck on your future writing endeavors!

on Feb. 21 2012 at 12:53 am
bassoonkid PLATINUM, Bountiful, Utah
20 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Believe in yourself... The major work of the world is done by ordinary people who have learned to work in the extraordinary ways" Gordon B. Hinckley

Wow! I have written lame old poetry for a long time, but never come close to something like this. It is very detailed! I love the pictures you can paint when reading. It's very entertaining

on Feb. 2 2012 at 8:11 am
myraahmad SILVER, Wah Cantt, Dist. Rawalpindi, Other
5 articles 1 photo 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
I have a dream...

Wow. This is such a powerful poem. It haunts you and captivates you, and the strong imagery just ... wow, what can I say. Keep it up

on Jan. 15 2012 at 6:11 pm
marissadele PLATINUM, Danbury, Connecticut
20 articles 3 photos 388 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you know how you feel, and so clearly what you need to say, you'll know it. I don't think you should wait. I think you should speak now." -Taylor Swift

This is.. haunting, amazing, beautiful, motivating...i think it's got a meaningful inner message...overall, 5/5

Morning SILVER said...
on Dec. 31 2011 at 1:45 pm
Morning SILVER, Greensboro, North Carolina
9 articles 0 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There is no perfect time to write, there is only now." ~Barbara Kingsolver

Wow! This is a haunting poem. You had some really nice concrete images. The repitition was also a good touch. Keep Writing!

on Dec. 26 2011 at 9:11 pm
MumblingMelanie DIAMOND, Jackson, Missouri
79 articles 0 photos 210 comments

Favorite Quote:
Don't be a victim; be a titan.

Beautiful in a dark way. You are quite eloquent, for sure. I truly enjoyed reading this! Also, I notice you play the clarinet. So do I...*virtual high five*

on Dec. 18 2011 at 4:43 pm
star2brite SILVER, Amherst, New Hampshire
7 articles 0 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A bad book is as much of a labor to write as a good one, it comes as sincerely from the author's soul."--Aldous Huxley

My favorite line was "skin is stretched like a xylophone on her stomach." That is such a powerful image. Great piece of writing!

babysteps GOLD said...
on Dec. 16 2011 at 7:18 pm
babysteps GOLD, Wayland, Massachusetts
11 articles 5 photos 40 comments

Favorite Quote:
"An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind."
~Mahatma Gandhi

You did an AMAZING job on this! It is so well written I had to read it multiple times to enjoy the complexity of the poem. just fabulous job!