If I Had Known

by Mel Cort, age 15
If I Had Known Mel Cort is a fifteen year old high school student, where she studies poetry at every opportunity. She is a three-time silver key winner for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards with work featured in The Online Journal of Exceptional High School Writing, Blue Review, and local publications. You can also find her in school plays and playing softball.

“I would’ve told her that I was proud of her”

If I had known that 

when I flipped my roommate off

with a smug smile instead 

of a hug before spring break

that I wouldn’t ever hug her again,

I would’ve told her that I was proud of her

and that she showed me 

the safest place I had ever had

that I had run to her and she kept me loved

and hidden

and learning

I would’ve breathed deeper into the ramen crusted air and her dirty

laundry clad shoulder because the dryer broke three 

days before we left 

to go home 

home? 

was / left / was kicked out of / lost / was robbed of

home.

I would’ve learned to knit with my 

grandmother instead of tugging

on my mom’s sleeve and begging

to leave because I was bored of old, old 

couches and clothes and music and clouds of minds left

in the years before me

memories of wars and people I’ve never known

I would’ve taken

a moment to learn their names to tell

them to the kids I might never have a chance to have

I would’ve written down her red sauce recipe 

even though I never liked it

I would’ve run free and 

breathed.

without a beast taking time from 

seniors,

ours and the kids who

will never get the chance to be 

one again. 

I like to think that

I would’ve.

Who knows.

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