#GirlsWriteBack: “Aphanitic Boy” by Fatima Tall


#GirlsWriteBack is a summer writing project hosted by the GirlSense & NonSense Blog.
It features weekly essays, poems, and fiction by young women writers responding to news headlines.


AphaniticBoy

By Fatima Tall

Responding to: “Teen Rescued After Fall At Rocks State Park“, CBS Baltimore

He chewed on rocks
because it was the only thing
that could keep him from saying anything
to keep him from saying anything
to keep him from saying anything
because their small quartz minerals
mixed with glass and irregular grains
cut his tongue
an invisible sadistic pain
that no one would know he had unless they asked
an invisible sadistic pain
that radiated sounds as his jaw came down
that made people hear him
in ways his voice couldn’t
his voice wouldn’t

An act that could not hurt anyone else
he chewed on these rocks
because it was self destructive
and self instructive
and no one could tell him otherwise
something he could feel for himself
irregular grains that could fit in the empty spaces
you could only see with black rimmed magnified glasses
and bright squinted eyes

He chewed on rocks
because their metallic taste reminded him
of the ground
and the foundations that many
successful “do it yourself” miners
and pioneers who had made their way up
and conquered with hope and fear
all without someone spotting them
without someone watching them
without someone

So he chewed on rocks
because he too tried to climb
he too tried to take hold of
his rocky situation
but the further he made it alone
the smaller he got
on the horizon of missed opportunities
and he knew too well that people
wouldn’t see him struggling that far away
not until he lost his grip
not until he lost his fit
in the rocks he’d come to familiar with
not until he fell
with a mouth full of rocks
not until
his mangled body
could be seen in a defeated heap
would they come and help

because we tend to only believe in things
we can see
like broken bones
and the sun


 

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