By Florencia Micaela Pinto
This is a piece about how it feels to deal with the struggles that grief may bring. And about trying to move forward by taking one day at a time.
Some days are worse than others: I wake up, repeat the same routine, brush my hair, brush my teeth. I get stuck in time, carrying a heavy weight, repeating over and over in my head things I said, things I regret, things I wish I had said.
Some nights, the storm comes. Pain and fears creep in me again, I can’t sleep. You keep coming back to my head: our long car rides, trips to the beach in summer, your awful but funny jokes, the way your eyes got lost in the room whenever you were thinking too much. And the inevitable happens: I cry and cry and ask myself what I did wrong, why didn’t I try harder, what would’ve happened if it was me and not you. I’m drowning. I can’t breathe, I muffle my cries. Pretend I’m fine.
But some days, I wake up with a smile and want to try again. I open the curtains, let
the sunlight in. I dress, braid my hair, put on perfume, I look at myself in the mirror, wash and change my bed sheets. In the kitchen, I pour flour on the table, add water, knead the dough, add the butter. Let it sit, and knead again. Good days don’t happen everyday so I make them worth it.
On good days I like to think of my future, the endless possibilities. Moving away far from home and starting all over again: cutting my hair, buying a house, falling in love. These days you’re on my mind but in a good way. I hear your voice, telling me to keep going, follow my dreams. Like you did when you were here.
Days like this, I know things will get better, that eventually I will be fine.
This piece took a long time to get where it is right now. From different writing prompts, introduced by my mentor, to free writing, it was a journey to figure out what I really wanted for this poem. I spent weeks trying to follow prompts and give more details when in reality what I needed was to let all those go and sit down to think: What do I want the reader to feel when they read this poem? And my answer was: connection. This piece is about connecting with a reader that may have experienced grief or is having a hard time with their mental health. From using prompts to pouring my thoughts on paper, I feel like I really did a 180 with this piece. Even though it was long, and I felt stuck at the end, I felt liberated because I got to write a piece where I’m not only being honest with the reader but also with myself. And I think that’s what good poetry is about, being honest in order to build connection.
Florencia Micaela Pinto is a senior in high school. She was born in September 2003 in Queens, New York and spent her childhood in Peru. At the age of 14, she returned to New York to complete her studies. She plans to study medicine. Previously, she interned at the non-profit RPGA Studio, where she focused on solving community issues through art. As a mentee with Girls Write Now, she has written different pieces including her personal essay “La Tierra me Llama,” a short story called "505," and, most recently, her poem "These Days.''