How to Tell if You Are Real: Three Poems

Updated: Apr 30

by Gwendolyn Pyle - Toledo School for the Arts, Eleventh Grade

Originally published in Springboard Teen Literary Journal's May 2019 print issue

Broken Mirror

My face is refracted

From the damage that I had done

My face stained in my blood

Separated into twenty parts

My face sprawled in front of me

Haunting me

How to Tell if You Are Real

If you have;

Hair that tangles in the mangled air,

A mind that implodes every five minutes from constant thinking,

Eyes that sting because you hold back your tears,

A nose that inhales the raw scent of the world eating you away,

Ears that itch to hear the truth instead of blatant lies,

Lips that lie to ease your heart’s bleeding,

Teeth that chatter to block out the sound of everyone else’s world,

Jaws that clench so hard they give you a headache,

A neck that strains to find the potential they say you have,

Shoulders that carry the weight of your world,

A chest that heaves because you stop breathing when you cry,

A heart that bleeds for every lie your lips tell,

Arms that swing by your side, your only loyal followers,

Hands that fidget when you are bored, tired, hungry or nervous,

A stomach that swallows its hunger when it sees a scale,

Hips that sway to the music of your chattering teeth and imploding mind,

Legs that dance away from the weight of everyone else’s expectations,

Feet that pound in an effort to break free from the rules,

Toes that long to live in a world less constraining,

Or a soul that breathes words,

If you have one of these,

Then you, sure as hell, are real.



Apart from the harsh oppositions.

Today is a good day.

Today fear shall be stricken from here,

Today everybody will start dancing.


With their thoughts of terror and repression.

The fear of the people will be gone,

But their voices will ring out loud

Rejoicing now that the threats of danger are fading.


Barrier has separated the people.

On it everyone shall dance and party to forget the fears.

Down with it to rid the people of separated tyranny

Of others who never experienced their tragedy.


Of corruption and repression will come crumbling,

And the pieces will be memorabilia

Of the day where their fear was replaced with reunion.

To remind everyone of the day they were dancing.


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