“This Poem is Not About Me” – Ava Stanski

This poem is not about me.

It’s about you,

or her, or him,

or them,

It’s about someone who’s never been enough,
smart enough,

strong enough,

charming enough.

It’s about someone that underachieves,

because overachieving became impossible a long time ago,

so they let themselves fall into the background.

They become the ensemble in their own narrative.

They are always the best friend,

or the rival,

or the extra,

or the contextual voice on the other side of a phone.

This poem is about them because nothing else is,

because when they imagine their future,

all they see is a big blank space.

They haven’t had a plan,

since they realized that everyone around them was meant for greatness,

and that it was their fate to cheer them on,

between anxiety attacks and depressive episodes.

Did you ever wonder why some characters never come back to the show?

They’re always mentioned off-screen,

but the audience is never given evidence of their existence,

except for the memory of a wacky, or weird, or creepy, side character,

that managed to further the protagonist’s own growth.

They stop talking until you’re not even sure they could speak even if they wanted to,

but they do speak because they’re speaking right now…

Fuck it, this poem is about me.

This poem is about me.

I am a side character in my own story,

and I’m sorry if I seem off-putting,

but good luck finding a popular member of the ensemble,

who’s character ain’t built off shock-value and crazy, ‘one time I got so wasted I did this’ stories,

and honestly I’m okay with that,

because you can’t have a chosen one without the clumsy best friend, or the know-it-all rival.

It’s no surprise that I can never write from my own point of view,

but I think I’m allowed to be the main focus of my own goddamn poem.

Ava Stanski is a sophomore Creative Writing Major and Film and Women’s Studies minor. When she isn’t writing poetry or short stories, she can be found in Susquehanna’s Belly Dance Circle, watching Netflix, or chipping away at the mountain of homework she has definitely put off for too long.

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