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CLAY (a poem)

Elaina Bolanos, Reporter

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C-L-A-Y
Clay. Whoa look at that, I just spelled a word and then repeated it. What a crazy and totally original idea! I bet you no one has ever thought of that as a way to start a poem.

Crazy, right? For once, the words that passed my lips weren’t carved, kneaded, framed into the whispers that only a select few have ever had the privilege to listen to. For once, I didn’t let other people tell me what to say!

But wait. That’s a total lie. You see, I had one of my friends read over this poem again and again before I even considered presenting it. Trying to search for that inevitable mistake that I was bound to make.

To help me change something so that the words that slid off my tongue wouldn’t have to claw their way out. Why?

Because I am this poem. I am clay. No, I am not the literal, dictionary definition. Crazy thing is, I am not a heavy, sticky, material from the earth that is forced into different shapes and that becomes hard when it is baked or dried.

Wait a second, that’s exactly what I am. Obviously not the heavy, sticky material part, but the part that is forced into different shapes. I liked to think that I was original. That I had my own thoughts, I was my own person, I am my own body.

Funny how I used to think that. Because I’m not. I will bend and twist into shapes and sizes you never thought were possible, only to be mashed up again to fix the mistakes.

Everything and anything you say leaves an imprint on me, and the only way to get rid of it is to remake me. Make me so I am rid of flaws. And once I am that carefully designed masterpiece that took you hours, days, months, to create, put me in the oven.

Harden me, so I am immune to the scrapes you leave. So that whenever I am handled by someone else, I will not bend, I will not change my shape. But I hope you’re happy with your design.

Because you can’t change me back. I will no longer be the one who pulls and curves to your every wish, your every desire. Your words no longer leave an imprint on me that changes my whole being.

But now that your words can no longer be fingers, long and ruthless as they snake their way across my throat, forcing my words to change as they leave my tongue, they become hammers. 10x worse, impenetrable and unforgiving.

And I can’t change back.

So, you’ll break me, your favorite toy, and leave me in a million pieces, smashed and unrecognizable. A mess that no one will want to clean up. Then I’ll just lay there, a pile of slowly crumbling dust, only to be swept away by a gust of wind.

First, soft and easily bendable. Then, hard, cold, simply unchangeable. Only to end up as nothing. An inconvenience. Not even clay anymore. I’m not even clay anymore.

 

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CLAY (a poem)