Reading Time: 2 minutes

After reading well in class
I always 
put my head down
and avoided eyes 
with the teacher,

I’d read with more
more power,
greater emphasis,

with enunciation 
that arrested 
the story’s characters
and jailed 
them in my 
thump-thump, thump-thump

I rang out Sansom’s sheet,
I held the conch,
I held onto daddy’s hand
during the night.

I felt it, I felt it-
trenches forward,
trenches aft
when their was nothing
left to say in
sorrowful Europe.

I couldn’t look
anyone in the eyes
for at least 
an hour because 
they weren’t 
as earnest as 
Remarque or Fitzgerald;
I couldn’t give so much
then let them 
undress me 
like a museum exhibit,
I couldn’t let them
just take all
the meaning from me-

it wasn’t theirs
to take,
it wasn’t theirs 
to waste,

so I made them work
to give
me compliments.

I never made eyes,

I ran out of class like all of 
school was on fire,

I slipped out,
and hid behind 
the silhouettes
of my classmates 
just to escape eyes

I ran like a flag
up the pole
because I didn’t want 
the compliment
unless I was somewhere
just below heaven-

I have always 
hated being destroyed 
with flimsy 

if you think 
I deserve it 

chase me across 
the earth,

if you think I deserve it

you’re going
to have to
work hard
to give 
it to me.  

by: Roman Newell

Graphic Composition:
by: Darlene Carroll

Graphic work can not be accomplished without the incredible resources made available to this Author and his team.
THANK YOU to the following artists for the gift of their artistry and generosity in sharing their beautiful artwork, photography, and fonts.

Background Imagery:
o. Maret Hosemann — Pixabay
o. Sandid — Pixabay
o. JR Korpa — Unsplash

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