Written by Zoe Cunniffe – Instagram: @there.are.stillbeautifulthings

i took a trip to holland when i was sixteen:
young enough to be enthralled by foreign streets
but old enough for it to feel hollow
standing surrounded by the wholeness of a city
that lay four thousand miles from all i’d ever known.
amsterdam contains so many lives that burn on
while everyone in my city lies fast asleep and dreaming.

i stayed awake until the city blurred around me, 
gave up three midnights to a second-story balcony,
caught in between days while my family slept
and the world spun with its eyes closed.
i had never experienced a lightness like that:
bare feet numbing in brisk august air,
summer rain trickling through my hair.
it was a brief euphoria,
watching bicycles splash through puddles,
conversation ringing down the alley.

in holland, i could feel the earth turning,
an ethereal sensation i am oblivious to in virginia,
where my eyes are more focused on what is missing
than what is there. at sixteen, my mind was scorched 
with nightmares and horrors, visions of the future twined
around my eyes until i boiled in my own blindness, 
but for one moment, i was washed clean, and the skyline hung
clear and glistening. for one moment, all i had to do
was breathe it in.


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