Our train is stuck in traffic
and I’m late for lunch with my grandpa
because his silence makes me feel a little bit less lonely
in a world where it’s easier to forget
the deaths of old confidants, the day’s list of tragedies.
I walk around the L with headphones on,
listening to golden oldies,
as I stumble into forsaken friends,
They want me to be myself
like a shark might be herself in a city aquarium.
Motionless, encumbered by the glass.
I pretend like I’m told.
It is now nighttime and for a fleeting moment
the chaos of the pandemic blurs into stillness.
I transfer to the 6 bus writhing below the skyscrapers
on Michigan Avenue through the haze of hundreds of tourists.
I whisper to the driver what is beneath my kaleidoscopic eyes,
my truth fading into the endless cries of taxis
and the wispy strands of smoke rising from concrete.
Whether or not he listened,
I enter The Wild, glass shattered.
Gabrielle Beck is a 17-year-old writer from New Jersey. She plans to document Generation Z’s creativity, ingenuity, and innovation through her writing and photography. In her free time, Gabrielle enjoys repurposing vintage denim to promote sustainability.