When the moon replaces the sun
I’m haunted by sharp things
That speak to me, begging me to carve in to
Not only my arms, but in to
Everything I’ve ever known to be real.
And every day
When the sun replaces the moon
I’m haunted by regret
That stabs in to me, begging me to put a stop to
Not only to what I do to myself, but to
The way I reject reality to feed my addiction.
I remember how it felt to be in your arms that once.
Like you were strong and I was your baby girl.
Like you were everything and I didn’t have to be
anything but yours.
Not even mine.
I remember how it rained that day.
Hard. Like the sky was pelting words at us from too high up.
And you rocked me
like you had always dreamed of doing.
From the moment you knew me,
And I remember the unsettling feeling that came with the next moment.
I remember hearing my own screams grow in strength
before you knew that anything was wrong.
Before you knew you were
And I can still feel the force of your cry
as the wind ripped me from your arms
and the place where I fell
The rain stopped then, but you were already gone.
And I was the last little bit of you that was left.
Face down on the street.
Waiting for you to come back for me.
I called to you once,
begging you to come down again,
and you called to me telling me to come up.
And I tried. I tried so hard.
But I fell.
And I clearly remember how no one was there to pick me up again.
To cradle me like you did. That once.
To hold me as their child and sing to me as I cried.
So I stopped trying to move . Stopped trying to cry. Just layed there.
Waiting for the rain to start again.
Young writers, reaching out and helping each other. We’re all the same. It’s never easy for anyone.
While the entire nation mourned the loss of so many innocent souls on this past Friday, the Young Writers Project was shaken to the core by the loss of another beautiful and innocent soul, taken too early from our tight-knit community of writers and creators. Emily, a 15 year old, high school freshman– talented actor, writer, and artist– succumbed to her nearly life-long battle with leukemia. This is an exceedingly long post for me, but I implore you to read it all. She deserves at least that.
This poem was written by Alan C. Homans, Emily L’s oncologist. He asked if we could post it on YWP and we were honored to do so. Even if you didn’t know this girl, this poem will show you what she meant to everyone she met….
It is the season of short cold days and long dark nights
But it is also the season of gifts and candlelight.
When Emily left, a light went out,
But with our help, her light can still burn bright.
Emily, being Emily, left us gifts for the season before she went away.
The first gift was simply that of her presence.
For 15 years she made this a better place –writing, acting, studying,
and generally making her life as full as possible.
Moving through her time with that wild mane of red hair… or not.
The second gift was her example of how to live.
Disappointed by disease, pain, and setbacks,
She nonetheless pushed on, not ignoring adversity, but in spite of it.
The third gift is Emily’s example of how to gracefully face the end
Realizing that her disease was getting the upper hand
She faced death down, and with courage and dignity said, in effect
“you can have this body – it has served, and betrayed, me long enough.
But you cannot take, and will never take, Emily”
In this season of short cold days and long dark nights.
Accept these gifts, Emily’s parting offering, and in the spirit of the season
Pass her light and courage on.
To those suffering from hurricane and flood – pass it on
To the families consumed with grief– pass it on
To those in need here, and around the world, please, for Emily’s sake, pass it on.
Let Emily’s light burn bright.
Here’s a piece written by Emily in response to what we had considered a relatively frivolous prompt… “Hair.” It is anything but frivolous. From when she was in second-grade.
The Story of My Hair
By Emily L
When I was born, like most babies, I was bald. My hair grew as I turned one and two. Then when I was almost three, I got Leukemia. Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects your blood cells. I went on medication that would help me, but chemotherapy made my hair fall out. It got shorter and shorter until I was bald.
My parents and friends bought me lots of bandanas, wigs, and hats but I didn’t wear any of them. I was only three. I didn’t care if any one saw my bald head. I went to preschool bald and pretty much everywhere bald. Soon my hair grew so it was short and later it grew into thick red curls. I went through one more year of preschool, and then in kindergarten I had a relapse. A relapse is when you have cancer again after the first time.
When I had a relapse, my hair fell out again and once again my parents and friends bought me lots of bandanas, hats, and wigs. Since it was winter, I chose a purple winter hat. I even wore it inside, but then spring came and my head got hot. My friend bought me a blue hat with clouds and a brim. I chose that gift to be my next hat. I wore it through the rest of kindergarten and all through first grade. Now in second grade, I still wear that hat.
My story of hair is different from others but I act like a regular kid. My body looks no different from any other kid’s body and I will always be myself. No matter where I go, I will always be me.
Wherever you are now, I hope you are still you. Amazing. Rest in peace.
The Prince of Night
and Woodland Air
with heart so heavy
yet face so fair,
once came to me
when I was young,
just after set
of twilight sun.
He sang to me
the sweetest songs
of birds and stars
in the wood
so far below,
where only fools
dared e’er to go.
He bid me come,
his smile so bright
it shamed the moon,
it felt so right.
And from my window
I was led
where earth meets sky.
And on a bed
of silver grass
laid we there,
in the night
and woodland air.
“This is my home,”
He said to me.
“Can’t you feel
in every tree
the freedom of
this unknown place,
of untouched grace?”
I smiled at him,
all rosy cheeked,
and watched a fawn,
so quiet and meek,
come bounding by.
It made me smile.
“This all will die
in little while.”
I turned to him,
confused and scared,
and to my listening
ears he bared
the secret worries
he had grown
as he watched
from celestial throne.
“The earth does cry,”
He said to me.
“It’s in the quakes,
the air we breathe.
From water rushing
in from sea,
to every stump
and fallen tree.
This world we have
is not our own.”
And with that,
he took me home.
He led me to
my own soft bed,
then kissed the top
of my bowed head
and wiped the tears
that stung my eyes.
“My dear, nothing
may have to die.
Tell your friends
the things you know.
Share with them
what you’ve been shown.
With all your help,
I’ll come again.
To you, I say,
the future is
within your hands.
Take this news
to distant lands.
can save my home.
you are not alone.”
and left me there
with tear-stained eyes
and heart of care.
So went the night
he met me there,
the Prince of Night
and Woodland Air.
“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.”