Vassar Student Review

Vassar Student Review

Three Marches: 2019, 2020, 2021


Naima Saini

i.
You think it’s your last year here, and everything should be okay now,
But you’re so sad it hurts your chest and shoots into your hands. You don’t know why.
There are four sprouts in the city, and you cling to them
With everything you have. Orangutans don’t know they’re orangutans,
You read in a book, and it sends you to the bathroom to sob silently.
Your best friend knits you a hat for your birthday, and you tell her you wish to be a snail,
Your whole body safe inside a shell with no room for human thoughts,
Leaving the tiniest mark possible and retreating whenever necessary.
You think you’re in unrequited love but you’re just being dramatic.

ii.
Either the world is ending or everyone is being dramatic.
It feels like the former. Your friends are stuck; you’re all forgetting
To wish for each other’s luck.You snap pencils and freeze all your tea and think,
Spring doesn’t matter anymore, it doesn’t matter if you wear your overalls.
You thought you’d started finally feeling real,
But you catch yourself wishing you could disappear again.
Your dog keeps getting muddy and every night as you watch the news,
You feel the dog shampoo sticky on your knuckles.
A top scientist who used to work from the government has come out and said
Aliens are real. Every night you lie in bed and wish they’d abduct you before morning.
You’re in love but you haven’t told her,
And now she’s across the ocean, so maybe you never will.

iii.
You can’t tell if you’re getting better, but the sun is setting later, so maybe you will.
You sit the wrong way in your desk chair and cry every time it snows.
Your best friend gets into crocheting and makes you a hat.
You wear sundresses over goosebumps, willing spring to come.
Every night you lie next to someone who loves you and wonder
When your luck will run out. Sometimes you dream there’s only
One pair of glasses on the dresser, one mask, one toothbrush.
Sadness moves all the way to your fingertips and back up your arms again, like a tide.
Sitting in the greenhouse, catching up with your oldest friend, you drink defrosted tea,
And you realize you don’t always want to disappear.
Sometimes you want to be a snail, or at least an orangutan.
But you don’t want to be whisked to a different planet.
Outside your window, there are so many sprouts now.

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