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Tremble -- poetry by Natasha Bredle

Perched on the church pew, you

are a discordance of color in a sea

of black and white, but you are disguised.

Notes of the intonating organ

float past your ears. Thoughts roam to

a faraway place called elsewhere,

and there you stir, tepid and restless,

yet still and silent as your father

reaches over and gently touches your knee.

The preacher’s crimson robe ripples

and reminds you of the ocean,

where you once laughed and skipped and splashed

along the shore, gripped your parent’s hands

without hesitation or heed, dug in the sand

with fingers too small to hold question,

instead sifting through streams of happiness

you never needed to hone or contain.

When you were six you were yourself.

Gaze wanders to the mahogany wood

of the podium and pivots you back to when

you stood in front of a crowded classroom, with

your typed out, unfolded, fashioned poem

before your eyes, and as you recited, the words

resounded as though they were a songbird’s trill,

a raindrop’s refrain, a cricket’s chirp, a dove’s cry.

When you were ten you were yourself.

At last, your view settles on the banner

hanging above, with the phrase you are loved

boldly adorning the white, and you think

of how you kissed a girl last week, the taste of

her cherry chapstick on your peach and you wonder

for the hundredth time if what it says still rings true.

Because for the first time in fourteen years

you are afraid to be yourself.

Just as your thigh begins to tremble,

your mother reaches over

and gently touches your knee.


Natasha Bredle is an aspiring young writer and poet. The art and magic of storytelling have captured her since she was little. Her work has been featured in the Dove Tales Writing for Peace poetry anthology, the Paper Crane Journal, and the Incandescent Review. When she isn't dreaming up new ideas to passionately scribble down, she likes to take long walks, practice yoga, and volunteer in her community.

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