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We walked home together. We talked about schoolwork,

“You are adopted. I’m sorry.”
Sometimes you commented on the dirt on my clothes

But this felt different, like we were at a party and all of a sudden

The words take me back: You’re adopted. I’m sorry?
What did you say?

These words make me feel like I should hide in a box

I am utterly quiet while my hands clench into fists.
You shattered the moment, the laughing, the talking, everything.
And you know it.

I am like a rope held together by trust and care.

A rope made of tiny threads that wear out if you use it too much—

And you can say “I’m sorry” because you do not know what it is like
To feel the shadow of hurtful words. To feel small

Now think

Could you say that now? Would you say that now?
All those times you were mean this is just hurtful.

Adopted Zoe Savishinsky
Zoe Savishinsky, 12
Seattle, Washington