Franklin Regional High School: An Ode

by Megan Auffart


I wrote this poem in 11th grade, right after some kid screamed "FAT ASS!" at me from down the hall and, for the first time in my life, I didn't feel anything at all. No embarassment, no shame, no angry tears... Immediately after that, I wrote this poem.


I sank into this year weak and sniveling
And I emerged stronger
Beaten until the calluses could repel a needle
waylay a nail
and thwart a sword
Until I was used to such misery that a day with only a spike in my foot
and a thorn in my eye
was a good day, indeed.
Until I began to look at other victims
And snort in derision
Refusing to see, reflected in their eyes, my trembling face from a year ago
I am stronger.

I can no longer notice a pinprick
a slap
a heel on my hand
Who notices these things when they've been through the rack
and their nerves are deadened?
When their hair has been pulled
and their skin has been peeled
and their fingernails pried off onto piles on the floor
next to the soft white ball that was once their eye?
Who feels a pinch after burning alive?
I am stronger.

My year is done and my sentence is complete
And I am told to gather my things and leave
So I pick up my skin that was torn from my face
and I pick up my eye that they forced out with wires
and I gather my fingernails one at a time
and I give one last look with a Cyclops's vision
I walk away quickly, skin folds loose in my hands
Realizing with surprise that, for once,
I am stronger.

And I want to thank you, Franklin, for molding my being
For twisting my limbs with your burning tongs
in order to make me into your image
into the puppet that you would control
Like a block of wood, ripped from its forest
And forced to resemble some false, foreign sculpture
Despite the inability of the artist
Thank you, for in spite of your work,
I am stronger.

So thank you, oh Franklin, for all your disservice
Thank you, oh Franklin, for all of the jeers
Thank you, oh Franklin, for nurturing hatred
Thank you, oh Franklin, for all of my tears
Thank you, oh Franklin, you've called me a monster
Thank you, oh Franklin, you've made me a freak
Thank you, oh Franklin, for all of your torture
Because of you, Franklin, I'm no longer weak

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