We All Fell Down

Elena was a sunflower
Her hair glittering pure blonde drops of bliss as she faced the bellowing sun
She danced like a pearl, the most beautiful jewel
Her long graceful arms brushing across the stage floor
As the crowd screamed and cheered
She spoke like a queen, her voice magnified in confidence,
Her beliefs and her dreams, she painted windows of inspiration for her peers
But at night, she would curl the rope she had tied around her neck
Round and round it went,
Round and round it went
She would step upon the shaking chair and she would clutch the rope
Her knuckles white and small droplets of red blood forming
Her mind focused on the last few words she had scribbled onto a note she kissed and placed under the drawer table
Round and round
And then she would pull the rope from around her neck
And step down from the chair
Then she let Tears come to her
Then she let Pain come to her
Then she let Life come to her

Mary was the juiciest red apple
Her black hair, solemn and quiet, matched her saintly presence
Her lips painted black for her faith, she held herself to a higher place
Dressed modestly, without color or flair
She spent her afternoons tutoring and her nights volunteering
But every night since that one time she would weep
Blood red, as they ripped her across the street
Their arms touching the secret places she kept for herself
She said
I can’t take the pain
or the thoughts
or feeling dirty
or the feeling of my body
It's like I’m not in my body
there is an empty hole here
Then she let Tears come to her
Then she let Pain come to her
Then she let Life come to her

Angela was a dove
Her dirty hair hung between her eyes, big bulky frames of thick lens
She spent her days huddled into small spaces trying to disappear
She sang herself to sleep each night
Her body covered with bruises, cigarettes and finger imprints
Her stomach, empty and shallow and full of pain
The room across from her an endless chorus to screams
She bit her lip until blood ran into the floor
Soon she let Tear come to her
Then she let Pain come to her
Then she let Life come to her

Sydney was thick crunchy bread
Her amber brunette hair tied above her head
As she sprinted toward the tracks, her legs catching speed
Faster and faster she ran
Louder and louder the crowd cheered
Faster and faster
But every week, she spend one hour in the bathroom
Gazing at herself through those jaded mirrors
Her hands following the lines and curves of her body
Her every imperfection biting her like a stab wound to her heart
Hating every part of herself, her last eaten meal was already in the toilet
Her hand already reaching for the cabinet drawer that held her razor
And she cut into herself
Waiting for that one moment Nothing came to her
Then she let Weep come to her
Then she let Pain come to her
Then she let Life come to her

Victoria was an eagle
Her blonde hair trimmed off, even over her ears and sharp glasses
Her mouth a quick hammer, like judgment day
She preferred to wear pants instead of dresses to all formal occasions
Respected but yet constantly afraid as through her biggest secret was as obvious and clear as mirror
Thinking about that girl with the long black raven hair
Her smile in the wind, playing with her strings
But then there is a lie to tell
Every day there was a lie to tell
Changing the very parts of your identity trying to hide it
Victoria was the eagle who had lost to the snake
And so she let Weep come to her
Then she let Pain come to her
Then she let Life come to her

Elena, Mary, Angela, Sydney, Victoria
They were all girls at the same public high school
They never noticed each other
But they always understood one another


Yeheng Liu
El Segundo, California