That One Night

Felicia J

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Springtime is flowers and sunshine and trees and rain but underneath all that beauty is an aching sort of pain. The green grass growing sparsely is trying to be brave, despite the fact it is covering a new stone grave. Outside, birds chirp and fly into the bright blue sky while inside my heart falls apart and slowly dies. Because below the surface everything is not always what it seems and the true me is trapped, trying to be heard by my screams. Every time a bluebird sings in its tree I hear a car start, the turning of an engine with a key. And every time a dotted egg hatches to expose a baby lark I hear the car crash, the night full of bright orange sparks. The sky above is littered with stars, glittering and new But all I see are bright lights, flashing red and blue. I lie awake at night and refuse to let my eyes drop because my nightmares consist of a heart machine, drumming to a stop. Because whenever a stranger asks how many children my family has, I see a gravestone, covered in tears from the past. And my mother’s answering voice, weighed down with sorrow, “I have seven children: six with me and one in heaven.” This poem was written six years ago in 2013, when a nineteen-year-old boy forgot to look up from his screen. I am eighteen years old now and if there’s one thing I understand— it’s that teenagers and cell phones and driving should never go hand in hand. Every year thousands of teenage lives are lost because seat belts are neglected and cell phones are used at any cost. We imitate what our parents, our friends, other drivers do; but it’s time to make our own decisions, it’s time to begin anew. So put your phone down, hide it under the seat, turn it off, place it out of sight. Be safe and be alive so your mother never has to cry like mine did that one night.