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Our Old Selves

Short poem by Oishika Ray
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We hopped fences and brushed dirt off new cuts. 
Late at night, we strung up blankets 
and mud soaked clothes— 
have you been there since?  I want to ask. 

The days of our childhood slip past us; 
packed tightly away, 
cramped and shrouded in mist. 
And you, you have forgotten the way we talked and shrieked and left this tunnel 
of summer and shimmering lakes behind 
with all our young, happy dreams. 

Do you sleep silently under your quilts and 
sheets and tales of us, 
or have you wondered at night how this all 
changed before we turned twenty? 

I remember our old secrets and patterned 
smocks and the smell of spring around the house and the cicadas in the hot evening. 
You have outgrown them all— 
you with your light hair and sloppy cursive, You with your father’s mouth and mother’s nose. 

I remember us, like it or not— 
a memory or a dream beating against the heavy tide,
and what are we but only that? 

And do we begin again? 
Us, the happy song, the warm wind, the fireflies. 
When we slept in the sun-soaked garden for the last time. 
Us, our old selves, 
and you the forgetful, you the well-loved. 

Oishika is a young writer from New Jersey. She had been writing poetry since the fourth grade, and is now a sophomore in college. She has been inspired by female poets such as Louise Glück, Mary Oliver, and Sylvia Plath, and through various different films and singer-songwriters.

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