Beginnings | Teen Ink


December 17, 2014
By Reydar SILVER, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
Reydar SILVER, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
7 articles 0 photos 22 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Every storm runs out of rain"

I count tiles as seconds
ticking by time bombs,
every moment here, beckons.

(Which sick girls play by the rules?
which fit your sickness stereotypes,
your diagnosis tools?)

My father drags lead weight tennis shoes
onto the protesting carpet,
rooting for the opposite team to lose.

Keeping my heart beating
(distinct separation from alive)
on wallet-draining wishes;
watching muddled numbers dive.

Filled with dreams
pumped rim-full of Harvard
stuffed to ripping seams,
disappointing experiment conclusion.

My tiles fade into khaki men
and vinyl-coated knuckles search the husk
that rolls beside me yet again.


winter babies
are supposed to love
ice crystals
the sleeping earth.
winter babies
know storms,
know rocking
cloaked in cold.
one way to define
is as a period of
when time blurs
sunlight ends
by this logic
my life
as long
as i have lived it
has been a dying


The cheater.
They took my knives,
locked them away where
itching hands can’t find them,
can’t split sagging skin
to find the point
where sin spills.
but they can’t wrap
my world with bubbles,
replace words with safety
scissors, so I hold
my hair and purge
the poison
from my stripped tongue,
arsenic melted
to a slower,


I’ve been through this before,
the volatile voices
each one keeping score,
of poorly hidden cage-frame bones.

Secretly, we keep track
quiet teens in competition
one step forward, one step back,
lapses fuel our ammunition.

I pull blankets to my chin
try to recall a bed that was not a prison
settle my body into hollow skin.

Sounds that cricket through these halls
are hauntingly familiar
how can crying pierce these walls,
if no one ever listens?

The shape across the room from me
turns from moonlight-breaking shutters
across invisible debris,
they said her name is Amy.


when they leave,
their smiles are sewn together.
sometimes they break
and let fear drip
from cracking voices
trying to say
sometimes they are full
of light
cured of monsters/demons/friends
sometimes they
but each new roster name
follows one of two;
or defiant.
they hold true to both,
band-aids stapled on
still cold wrists
hoping to forget
and hold
memories beyond control.


The room spins,
faces masking
disappointment, words
known but never uttered;
sometimes they don’t get
better. lucky
is their word
of choice; sure,
exactly how
I’d describe myself,
carted to a white room
where daylight never
ends. I’ve been here
before, with
books of love deemed
impossible; yet
they all end the same way.
Dr. Schultz appears,
holding back her
own battles
in silent sighs
How is she? I could
answer that better than
them, but they respond
Stable, maybe
I’m another
outcome, trashed by my
dysfunctional neurons
How Long, Sierra?
Long enough; the
truth; and she
but does not


Most people would gladly wake
to smells of these syrup-drenched rooms,
but my dreams chase a stomachache
in what was once a welcome perfume.

Once woken, the black-hole square of the scale
invites me to step forward,
but they turn me around to hide their numbers,
backbone bending, body stale.

Burning thoughts circle me down the drain
follow me to place-mat tables
pig, disgusting, a physical pain.

Silence ticks by on patient clocks
disguised by informal words
Breakfast congeals into dead-wake blocks,
they follow me down, the lost girl.

I watch them stare at shaking sides,
asking how have I survived so long
with such heavy things to hide?

the pastel paper cup
reminds me
of neon eggs
jelly candies,
poured into my mouth
left sores like
deadly prizes.
here, movements are
delayed, mechanical.
drop candy-colored
pills onto tongue
mouth open,
tongue down,
tongue up,
don’t think about
you can’t move
don’t think. swallow.
the last time
i slipped them
into secret pockets sticky
with lies,
head trapped in
vice-locked knees
death grip knuckles
sophia! find me!
angels and demons
slipped into my head
and exchanged scaly
morphed voices
with my own until
i had been to
and touched the shore.


Here, the
day and night
fade together
infirmary lights
hide humming behind
persistent machines,
and I am as
as hell’s static,
purgatory nights
hover between meals and
scales, a pound-measured
good girl melted
into wax.
Hospital beds
have been home before,
disinfected white sheets
to smother habits
following the
white rabbit
down, down


“Two truths and a lie”
I search my world for thoughts worth sharing
but my life remembers a hospital sky;
do I exist outside white walls?

The words I find, finally, are dull
and we all try to define ourselves
beyond the eating disorder’s magnetic pull,
funny that our falseties are so dry.

We’ve spent so much time lying
that uncoached by illness-driven tongues,
telling these untruths is tiring,
a breath of smoke to still-scarred lungs.

Have you ever sat among demons disguised
and watched collective breathing?
Have you ever blinked to realize,
that hope pulses, tangible, through incarcerated air?

Suddenly I lean to hear
the things we call to adjusting tongues
Sharing bone-chilling things to fear
but not death, which pales in comparison.


i don’t fear
but group is
hell, scraping
metal chairs
on protesting carpets,
words hanging
over broken nails.
we play games,
like in another
we could be normal;
two truths and a
our entire lives
perched on
plastic chairs,
to take flight.


Rye and Sam
(contagions of
humor) stop to pay
a visit, sudoku
book and artistry
in hand. Notice
Rye shining,
so much more than
the broken wisp born
into this place, wreath of
bones, stitched together
threads spun of fire
and brimstone.
More than gained weight;
she’s redesigned with
life, and I wonder how
any of us could
work so hard
to stay as a
ghost, tapping out morse
code on gravestones of chalk,
hanging lives by strings.
how is it that
we say no
to life?
If I could
go back in time,
I’d relearn
to live.


The show my eyes haven’t been seeing
rolls credits to an inconclusive close
and I wonder if this TV is tired of being
a refuge for zombie-blank souls.

“Yoga,” the nurse tells me.
One word spins shivers down my spine.
I’ve put exercise under lock and key,
a past before hospital lights and machines.

Two groups, yellow and purple yoga pads,
those who burn and those who stretch,
they measure and scrutinize and divide and they add,
to see who gets to move and who is stuck pretending.

Stretching and breathing and splitting in half
Sam, beside me, pulls out the best stories
but someone behind us wins and we laugh,
“once, a dragon just lit the whole place on fire”.

I can’t explain the way it rises, unexpected,
how this laughter bubbles up and boils,
more joy than I would have ever suspected
to lie dormant inside myself, who I’d thought forgotten.

i think
that i may have forgotten
the sound of sophia’s
this scares me more
than the way
my hands
while i watch them dissolve
beside me.
strength did not involve
it involved
numbers and hours,
and falling asleep
doing sit-ups.
familiar because
all my life
i’ve run, cheated and
fallen into pieces of
a puzzle with a
3D design that never got the dimensions right.
and sophia didn’t need me to fit,
just to dig into the sand
with nails
bitten to the quick,
and scream
don’t touch me!
don’t laugh!
don’t love me!
don’t get close
i was a fire hazard
built with no extinguisher
and sophia
taught me how not to
crumble; instead,
house those nearby inside
burning mortar.
my foundation does not support


Back here.
The last time,
I left two weeks
after Rye joined us,
the day that Sam came.
Left on wings and smiles
memories of self-
destruction, purged.
I cheated
my way
through weeks of
said I was better,
yet hoped that I was not.
Sometimes, the morbid
wishes are the
ones that come
true, and we leave
on blood-stained footprints.
But lies can only hold
us so long before
the sheet rock
they find us
and ship us back,
fruit rotted at the
skin, yet hopefully still
golden at the core.
what happens when
mold seeps through
your heart?


It’s breakfast No. 2 when a girl shows up,
sticky oatmeal grinning brown sugar;
she closes shaking fingers on a blue dixie cup,
stares down at orange juice mixed with fear.

They know her already, a familiar face
sinks into rhythm with Sam and Rye.
The nurse with us sets conversation pace,
and I almost want to know her story.

Chocolate brown skin and frizzy black hair
frame a face shadowed with secrets.
She’s known, like us, a disapproving stare
remembering meals in the bathroom mirror.

Eyes lock, the obligatory measure
of unspoken, disordered competition
our last link, our last deadly treasure;
which one of us is more damaged, sicker?

She is the first to break the chain,
remind me with swallows why we’re here,
I grip silverware with protruding blue veins,
and eat, because it is the only attack on fear.

when our nurse looks down,
my napkin
finds its secret fold,
envelop of numbers
unaccounted for.
tomorrow is weigh-in.
fingers press
against skin,
too much skin,
waiting for pretty pills
to kick in;
and fear designs
my daily blueprints;
how to avoid
watching eyes and
packets of venom,
where trash cans
aren’t monitored
and where spare moments
allow for secret
feet silent on
hollow carpets
hollow bones
hollow meals.
sophia knew
how to cheat and she made me
her prodigy,
secrets on secrets.
but my biggest charade
is that this
is getting old.

this time,
I am done
with cold charades,
lying smiles drawn
by so many broken
promises, because
everyone who
me is a sad
memory that I
failed, let them down, and let
myself believe that
I was ok;
I am not.
Not yet.

The author's comments:

WARNING: Some word choice/ideas may be triggering for eating disorders and/or self harm.

This is a short series of poems from the point of view of the three protagonists of a novel I'm attempting to write about a recovery center for eating disorders. 

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