before, between, and after


move inward and observe



A question and an answer spoken in quiet

Who am I?

You have to be more specific

Who am I without my trauma?

Barrier and shield

Blanket and blade

I float in the soft breeze of excuse

And drown in crushing agony

Both can be true

Both can be true

But I am not only black and white

I’m brown

Which is not quite middle

Not quite mediating two extremes

inhaling and exhaling

whatever is before, between, and after

I’m something catching all

scattering innumerable

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This is the first version of a poem originally commissioned for an online education platform and, as such, is aligned to a number of grade 6 ELA and lexile standards. This piece contains emotional the