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when i was 19 - Marilynn Eguchi

when i was 19

i made a cave under

the stairs at the bottom

of a well i had fallen in.

dark and lit like green

sea glass. i had left my shoes

with my body and

in my socks

tried to convince myself

that i wasn’t stuck.

echoes of home and comforting timbres

bounced down the soft green walls

of the well and into my cave

but when i climbed to the top

the faces were wrong, and i melt

underneath an atrium of strangers

that speak in stolen tongues.

the voices found new hosts

blank stares i didn’t know

but my red face and wild

eyes stared into theirs

and they couldn’t look back

but continued to stare without me.

the fear burned my skin like damp cold

and i have never existed in my body

as wholly as i did in that cave

in that well

when i knew they were shadows

but i believed them.


Marilynn Eguchi is a recent graduate of Loyola University Chicago. She has published book reviews and poems in Cleaver Magazine, Tupelo Quarterly and City Brink. She is the winner of Loyola's John Gerrietts Award for creative writing. She spends her free time as a community organizer in Chicago and a cat mom.


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