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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Young Writers Project: 'When Tears Were Left Untraced'

 Anna Phelps, 15, of Wolcott, Vermont, offers a glimpse into the daily life of a student tormented by bullies.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Courtney Volk, Essex Junction, Vermont
Anna Phelps, 15, of Wolcott, Vermont, offers a glimpse into the daily life of a student tormented by bullies.

Day 1 of 7:

They were listening through the cracks in the wall.
I could hear them whispering,
giggling at the snorts from my nose.

Such a cry baby.
She'll never know we're here.
Completely oblivious to everything.

I wonder if they knew
I was crying over them.

Day 2 of 7:

I always cry discreetly after Spanish.
It's a given.
They knew that.

The course isn't even that hard.
She just wants attention.
She must have been raised by storm clouds or something.

I wonder if they knew
their glares from across the room caused my pain.

Day 3 of 7:

A 1 out of 4 sprawled across my paper.
It was something I'd never seen before,
even on my worst days.

She's so stupid.
She probably deserves that grade.
Ha! Her face is turning red.

I wonder if they knew
they were speaking out loud.

Day 4 of 7:

I'd never been a good public speaker.
My voice always quivered with tears,
and my eyes had the faint feel of darkness.

That was awful.
The literal worst.
A mute could do better than she could!

I wonder if they knew
I was scared of what they would think of me.

Day 5 of 7:

I thought I had gotten away that time,
sitting in the far corner of the math room,
right up front where I felt safe.

She's trying to impress the teacher.
Everyone knows she doesn't have friends.
Like, she doesn't have to flaunt it.

I wonder if they knew
I had feelings that were wounded too.

Day 6 of 7:

Not even in my own bed
did I feel safe from harm,
so I always had a light on.

Scaredy-cat much?
Look, it even has wittle fwishies.
Aw, just the cutest piece of garbage.

I wonder if they knew
they were even in my nightmares.

Day 7 of 7:

I finally found a way
to run and hide from their lies,
leaving my tears untraceable.

She's not here 'cause she's scared of us.
Probably faking a sick day or something.
Who needs her, anyway?

I wonder if they knew
the scars on my heart were never going to heal.

They still haven't.

The Young Writers Project provides VPR's audience another avenue to hear and read selections and see visual art and photography from Vermont's young writers and artists. The project is a collaboration organized by Susan Reid at the Young Writers Project. The thoughts and ideas expressed here are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of Vermont Public Radio.

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