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Poetry for a memory

Art by Grace Gill

Content warning: this article deals with suicide.

Loss is something so deeply complex and internal we want to write it off as impossible. An open, empty space. Nothing of that person will ever be again. Only quiet and quickly fading memories. It’s hard to understand this feeling if you’ve never known it, almost helplessness, hoping the stars and the moon in the sky will drop to earth and melt back into the beautiful person you once knew. Thinking they’ll be around the corner, with their perfect smile and eyes that feel like autumn and the earth after the rain. 

Recently, I lost a friend to suicide—someone really close to me. I don’t want to believe it's true—and I don’t want to believe that there is nothing I can do about it. In reality, I’ll never get to watch them grow up, they are forever burned into my mind as the dance-loving, drum-playing fourteen-year-old. I am endlessly waiting for the next time I can hold them in my arms again. 


i painted you a picture of perfect nothing

silence and contemplation 

just how you liked it 

you said you enjoyed the cloudy days because behind them hid 

the eager rain 

fallen behind a stone-cold wall of grey reaches and heavy air 

like you 

because i know you hid 

every awaiting thought behind those deep eyes 

your smile was infectious 

with your movement 

i know how you lost yourself within it 

dancing that left everyone in the room breathless 

gasping for more 

lucky for us because 

we could never get you out of the cipher 

you inspired joy in its fullest form 

a laugh always awaiting on your lips 

i admire you for this because 

behind every joke you made 

smile you held 

laugh you caused 

was your own pain 

struggle that held you down

the cloudy day

hiding the rain 


i’ve never experienced a world so quiet 

filled with silent tears 

and muted thoughts 

a person-shaped hole 

a dent 

much like the one you made in studio 4

i wasn’t actually there that day 

much to my sadness when i heard the notification 

a picture of the wall 

a gaping hollow in its side

“look what happened!” 

i remember thinking 

only they could have done that 

i was right 

you did do it 

jumping to reach the ceiling, of all things 

i’d like to think that if i’d been there 

you would have made it a challenge 

tease me about my height 

like you always did 

“bet you couldn’t reach this” 

you’d always feel bad after though 

give me a piggyback ride 

and let me touch the ceiling 

your kindness 

was my favorite thing 


in the days before you died 

i had a feeling 

you told me you hadn’t been sleeping 

the dark circles like midnight shadows

taking away from those perfect eyes 

i worried about you deeply 

but you always told me it was okay 

shrugged it off 

there was something so admirable 

about the way you lived your life

one step at a time

a smile for days   

but even that smile 

faltered this time 

you told me you'd see me soon 

i took that last hug for granted 

a fleeting moment 

that now leaves me hoping 

for something impossible 

you will never be fifteen 

only a fragile memory 

resting dangerously on my mind 

i get to grow up 

and you are forever in eclipse 

but i can see you

in the rain  

the sky  

the sun 

the moon

silently watching over me 

there is nothing i wouldn’t do to hold you 

one last time 

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