Writing Catalog

Sarah Carlile

Grade: 12

Mayfield High School

Instructor: Kari Beery

Seven Shades of Seven Days.


Seven Shades of Seven Days.

the first day;

flashes of white blind her.
(but it's not the light she was hoping for.)

artificial bulbs shine above her, mocking her
blank walls suddenly smirk, laughing along
and freshly-washed bed sheets tangle
into dirty ropes left to strangle

even the tiny white capsules she forced down inside her
turn over at her own expense

it's. all. white.
there's too much white.

so she decides to black out the rest of it.
(but it's not the darkness she was hoping for, either.)

the second day;

the whites have faded,
but the colors around remain various shades of gray.

quick, film-cut memories focus in and out
a silent movie she didn't want cast in
and to make matters worse, the remote's broken
so she can't fast forward and she can't rewind
nor can she pause... she has to watch it in time.

she receives visitors from the shadows.
only the darkness doesn't speak her language,
so they motion with the delicacy
of professional dancers, instead.

she still doesn't understand, but they look nice.
she doesn't want to hurt their feelings.

so she nods along like an encouraging bobble-head
until they finally trip over the eggshells & empty plastic bottles
littering the floor on their way out.

she concludes the gray isn't as bad as the whites.
but she still wishes for some color.

the third day;

the red taints her.
she's afraid to see the stains she knows it left behind...
the kind that the laundry loads won't be able to erase
no matter how hard she scrubs at it.

the angry scratch marks scattered across her arms.
the bloody nail beds slipping through her fingers and dripping down her hands
the little devils running circles around her shoulders.
and a shiny, plastic chair dragging her whole being into submission.

a raging fire they ignited
by the gasoline she tried to hide
leaving third degree burns
amongst the skin of her soul

she wonders if they knew how high
her flames would rise
or that she'd go and choke
on the leftover puffs of smoke

dying alongside the skeletons in her closet.

the fourth day;

she's wearing blue.
faded fabric, worn down from overuse
she wonders if the others who wore it knew
how she's been feeling... if they felt that way, too.

a selfish part of her hopes that they did
if only to reassure herself that she's not crazy
but the aching heart she drags along unwilling
reminds her it's better if they didn't.

she's drowning in those blues
the frigid water extinguishing the hot fire from before
but now a flood is left in its wake
and not in sight is a single shore

so she's left
lost in the current
riddled with shaking limbs
and tears soaking in
with the other water drops.

and she can't decide what's worse
burning alive from the inside out
or freezing to death from the outside in

but at least she can say
she feels something.

the fifth day;

she gets what they mean, now
when they say the grass isn't always greener
because now she is on the other side
and the green they described isn't the right shade

all they talk about
is the trees growing
or the plants flourishing
they say green is healthy

but no one ever cares to mention
when it all catches up to you
the self-hate
the self-destruction
the self-awareness
of everything you've done
you're left lying on a kelly floor mat with nothing but an IV in your arm
(and wishing it were a body bag, instead.)

that green is sick.
and it's disgusting.

they just paint a perfect picture
with a crusty brush
in a broken frame

and then they replace the outside—-
never the inside—-
then call it fixed
and move on to the next work of art…

never finding their masterpiece.

the sixth day;

the empty room
shifts into a soft yellow
lit up
like the most fragile of lanterns

not golden like the sun,
but a paler shade
like the forgotten stars among it

shining on
a small smile,
and a ray of hope

it follows her into the hallways
and spreads with each
baby step she takes

it becomes the first color
that she's seen in a while
that hasn't overwhelmed her.

and that's perfectly enough.

the seventh day;

she leaves,
feeling free;
and the colors then blend,
until the world (finally) becomes CLEARER again.