As I grow older, the world seems to grow less and less vibrant. I find myself feeling as though my body is always exhausted, my mind clouded, and my emotions muffled. This poem attempts to capture that feeling, particularly with the imagery of a "small girl" who is trapped in a cage in my mind. This girl represents the freedom of expression that many people experience in their childhood. As children, people do not hesitate to cry, yell, fight, or say whatever thought or opinion pops into their head. The older I grow, the more hesitant I am to do those things. While this is not necessarily a negative development in my life, sometimes it can feel very confining. I hope that this poem conveys that feeling.

When did I stop?

when did I stop being able to speak?

why does every sentence clumsily spill out of my mouth, out of order in slippery slurs?

when did my body stop feeling?

why does every kiss feel like a mechanical routine of touch, tongues like penetrative cardboard?

when did my eyes stop crying?

why do I weep only in dreams, dreams when everyone dies, but not when I wake and notice those same people slowly being driven to death?

when did I stop fighting?

why do I sit silently, slightly grinning and shaking my head in hopeless acceptance of the evil they spit out their mouths?

So each year adds another layer

caging that small girl in my mind who used to dance in my tears

she doesn't get to dance anymore

memories and experiences are shoved in through my ears, filling my head

the cage walls crash in around her now

I become a wandering animal, untouched, wearily indifferent,

simply a fortress trapping that spirit who used to frolic through my thoughts, my emotions, my tears

and even if someone were to tear through her shackles,

would she even remember how to dance anymore?