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still -- poetry by Ben Carpenter

it’s been forever i know

since i was the tiniest of presences in your life

now i’m certainly less than a memory

a shadow of a bed you once slept in

i’m okay with that

but do you remember the time

you had gone out after some fight with one of the guys

i found you on the rocks

and you said you weren’t crying

even as your sleeve lay dark and sagging

maybe that was the last time i really liked myself

the idea that i could be everyone and no one at once

knowing you like the moss underneath our backs

or the grooves inside my palm

i was an enigma

the most fascinating abstraction you’d ever seen

a picasso, maybe

and you didn’t understand why

i always hid behind my own edges

shifting color outside your gaze

when you tried to teach me to smoke

i wheezed

my cheeks warming with your laughter

it was pretty funny

pretending like i felt something

enough to give you satisfaction

i probably had too much anyway

you left

kissed me goodnight

when the waves stopped crashing and the birds went silent

i fell from the sky

through the ground

colliding with your echo

and that was it

but if i wasn’t a goddamn coward

intent on being disposable

a plague of my own infliction

who knows where i might have slept

with your breath on my neck

for eons i wondered

a naive fantasy

thinks the wiser part of me

to fill in the gaps of someone

less real than a ghost

because those moments were distinct

to me alone

you marveled at your own creation

i guess only now i really get it

that we weren’t in the same place after all

i was a circle and you were a line

of a different plane

our togetherness



Ben Carpenter is a high school senior from eastern Massachusetts. He enjoys crossword puzzles, listening to music, and utilizing public transportation. At the moment, his favorite novels are The Bell Jar and The Kite Runner. He plans to study mathematics when he begins college next year, and finds the number seventeen extraordinarily fascinating.

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1 Comment

Lucy Dillenbeck
Lucy Dillenbeck
Mar 06, 2023


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