Good Times Hard Times

Graphic Myriam Ouazzani

Good times in hard times 

Hard times in good times 

Lately, the guilt has been especially heavy 

In being absent in some places 

And too present in others 

The overwhelming feeling to give my everything This duty and sense of urgency built into me Ingrained as deeply as I feel 

I feel heavy. 

I feel the regret 

I feel the loneliness 

I feel the sadness 

That of myself and of those I love. 

I feel my mother’s worry, 

In the pit of my stomach 

I scoop it out like sand. 

Slipping through my fingers and lingering for days in My heart, 

I feel my brother’s anger. 

Burning with tenacity, it is hard to put out. 

Spreading just as quickly as it is lit, 

Only receding in the wake of its destruction on My chest, 

I feel my father’s disappointment 

The weight of it slows me down 

Like jagged rocks, I chip them off my shoulders,

In pieces big or small 

They crumble and they fall, 

The sharp edges bruising my feet, in

My throat, 

I feel the shame. 

Viscous and wet, whenever it bubbles it chokes me 

My words drowning in between gurgles. 

My spine stiff and my mind frozen, I can only gasp for air. 

My limbs are numb, my knees collapse 

My chest ablaze, I can only gasp for air. 

My vision blurs, my cheeks are wet, 

My stomach heaves, I can only gasp for air. 

So, I gasp, and I grasp, 

I breathe. 

I can breathe. 


This article originally appeared in Volume 43, Issue 13, published March 7, 2023.