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Embarrassment - poetry by Paxton Calder

When the wrong thing slips out of your mouth,

Like someone else formed and chose those words,

You try to catch them,

You lunge and throw yourself to the ground,

But they slide through your fingers,

Like something slippery.

And you watch in horror

As they drip, drip,

And crash to the ground

And shatter with an ear-splitting clatter.

Everyone looks up,

Turns around,

And stares at you.

Your laugh was too loud.

Your joke wasn’t funny.

And yet your words were so deafening

That everything goes still and eerily silent,

Like the otherworldly feeling of when anesthesia starts to set in.

You know that even those behind you are looking your way.

You can feel their eyes barrel through your skin,

Deep into your soul.

Whispering, glaring, shaming, gossiping.

Your heartbeat quickens as

Your heart itself drops down to your feet,

With a heavy thud as you try to regain composure,

But your face is too red,

Your attempts are too forced,

And your presence is too widely known,

Felt all around the room,

To recover from this one.


Paxton Calder is a student at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond, Virginia. She is an avid reader and writer with poems published in Whose Ghost Magazine and work recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She loves competitive swimming, cats, avocados, and old music.

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