by Keira Johannson


I find myself sitting in an empty theatre

watching the playback reel of a movie I lived through

but did not experience.

It’s haunting, seeing my face up there.

A girl, so afraid of life that she did not live.

I almost don’t recognize her.

That’s not me,

I whisper to myself.

She’s not real.

But she was real.

A reflection of a past life that I blocked off for far too long.

It was nothing short of fictional.

I think about her a lot actually.

About the character development

she had to go through to become who I am today.

The obstacles and challenges she had to face.

I applaud her.

But I do not wish to be her.

If given the chance to do it all over again,

I would say no in a heartbeat.

After all, a true movie experience lacks a rewind button.

I can only move forward.

I often wonder if that time of my life was the climax.

Or maybe it was just the beginning.

Either way, I am certain it was not the finale.

The curtain has yet to close

but the screen has changed to a somber black.

I find myself sitting in an empty theatre.

And I look down at my blank notebook.

And I write, ‘the sequel’.

[writer’s note: this poem is something i started in my creative writing class a couple months ago, the ‘character’ is reflecting on her past life as if she is watching it on the movie screen. at the end, she realizes that that chapter is over and she is ready to write the sequel to the first movie]


seventeen years spent confided to these walls,

my heart is plastered in the cracks and crevasses,

in the third grade art projects,

that my mother refuses to take down.

there are the pencil markings in the laundry room

of all the times my brother and I would measure our heights

to see who would grow faster,

my lines always trailing far behind.

I will be leaving behind all the books

and shows and films and wisdom

that my father has passed down to me

and that I will pass down to my children one day.

I did not realize what it would mean to move away

until now,

until I had to say goodbye,

until I discovered it was not just the house I was leaving

but the home.