Zoey Klein 2017

Poem:    "It's Like a Dance"

Story:     "Even in Tragedy"

Poem:    "Falling or Flying"

Story:     "The Call"

After "What Kinds of Times Are These"

It’s Like a Dance


One step forward.


        I can see her.

        She’s breathtaking

        in this light,

        in every light.

        The way she carried

        herself down the

        hallway turns my head




        Her sure-footed stride is the

        perfect embodiment of poise.


        I’m afraid my voice

        won’t work.

        My hands are shaking.

        I’m going to do it;

        today is the day,

        but maybe not.

        Maybe next week.


Two steps back.


Even In Tragedy


     We talked for hours. Side by side, we sat outside on that dirty, old couch. At least that’s what everyone else called it. To us, it was our escape from the worries of the outside world. We both stared at the stars. His were in the sky, but my favorite ones were the ones that swam in his ocean blue eyes. He told me that everything would be okay, that he’d always be there. I wanted to believe him; I wanted to trust him with my whole heart, but I couldn’t. I’d made that mistake too many times already. He promised me that my heart was safe with him. He swore that the future tears I’d shed would be ones of joy. He talked of the life we’d live together, of the house we’d own. Everyday he would remind me of the children we would someday have together; a boy, Marcus, and a girl, Adelaide. He talked about the big ranch we’d have in our own little slice of paradise. He babbled on with words of reassurance; talked and talked until I drifted off. I’m pretty sure I could still hear him talking from in my sleep.

     I woke up on his living room couch at around noon. I walked into his room, and he was sitting on the foot of his bed. His shoulders were slouched, and his face was in his hands. Silent sobs shook his body violently.

“What is it?” I asked, taking my place at his side; my hand rubbing his back.

     “I went to the doctor today because I’d been having some vision problems lately.” Of course, I already knew this. My hand continued to draw swirls on his back with the pressure of a feather. “They found a tumor on my brain.” I stare at him, wide-eyed in horror. “They gave me one month. I have one month left on this earth with you, darling.” I removed my hand from his back, and clasped both of them in my lap. We sat side by side, while our hearts broke for an eternity. Even in tragedy, we were united.

* * *

     Since that day, he still tells me about all the wonderful things life will hold. Except now, he talks about the things I’ll have, and he doesn’t include himself: the house I’ll own, the children I’ll have, my big ranch. I don’t know if he knows it, but each time he speaks of another thing I’ll get to have, a little piece of my heart breaks. He’s never said it, but I can tell he’s picturing another man next to me when he lets his mind wonder about the milestones I will have to go through without him. Little does he know that my heart, closed off as it may be, will always belong to him. No man, will come close to being as perfect for me as he was. When he leaves me, a piece of my heart will go with him, and I don’t think I’ll ever get it back.


Falling or Flying


I hovered, toes over the edge

of the roof, deciding if

death would bring the bliss

I’ve always dreamed of having.


My mind was a black hole where

a star died a thousand deaths,

while my body was still

going, struggling.


My dad knew before I was

born that he wouldn’t love

me enough to stay, so why

did I expect others to?


Every morning before school,

my mom would tell me she

loved me. At least, she did

before she died.


She was always the light

that cast out my darkness,

but maybe her light

grew dim.


I thought back to the one friend I

always thought I’d have, but he

left me as soon as a better,

lower maintenance offer came up.


I faced the facts; if someone

better was an option, no one was

going to choose me, and I was

stupid to think otherwise.


My mind wandered to

the kids at my school that

called me disgusting, stealing

the last bit of sanity I had left.


They took my peace; and

made my heart ache for



to hear my cries for help.


I jumped.

Then, I changed my mind.


The Call


     The reflection of the sun setting on the water is the perfect picture of serenity. The colors of the sky take my breath away every time I look up from behind my sunglasses. Cool, chlorine-scented air fills my nose with each breath I take. I can feel the heat radiating from the sun-bathed cement. I roll my shoulders back, and sink down into my favorite chair. Nothing could ruin this moment. It’s just me, just the water. Just this perfect now.

     I check my phone after a while to find a snapchat from my cousin. I open it, a picture of black mascara rivers running down her face. Her eyes are bloodshot and her makeup is in ruins. I get away from the children's shouts, and call her in a panic. She answers the phone, but says nothing in response to my ‘hey’. The silence is a weight slowly squeezing the air from my lungs. With each passing second, my thoughts grow darker.

     She finally speaks, “My mom, she’s sick.”

     I don't answer.

     “She’s in the hospital, and I think she’s going to die.”

     We linger in the silence. Her sobs become quieter with every breath. I can feel my heart throb in my chest. My aunt might die. My cousin could be an orphan. My dad could lose a sister, and I have to tell him. With a shaky voice and sweaty palms, I say goodbye and hang up with my cousin. I take several steadying deep breaths before dialing the number. The crystal-clear waves move back and forth across the surface of the water. They seem so calm even while the children splash and spill the water over the sides. I can see the sun, still trying to move from this side of the world to the other.