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Kaitlyn Ho, 11
Media, PA

Then and Now

Kaitlyn Ho, 11

If I knew then what I know now
I would have prepared for house arrest
because of those crown-shaped bacteria
those wrecking balls

I would have told myself to enjoy
every bit of food at our last restaurant
to savor the laughter and spring clothes
that I would get at the last mall

But they felt like normal days
the astonishing days full of surprises
the days I took for granted
when I could wonder
What will happen next?

But that’s gone now
I know that things will never be the same
That even after there are less cases
and they find a vaccine
No one will be willing to jump into ball pits anymore

If this never happened
now I would be shopping for summer dresses
dancing with joy because my PSSAs are over
and because I survived my first year at middle school
I would be eating lots of ice cream
Maybe I wouldn’t have discovered
frozen grapes
without with the help of house arrest

If I was able to tell my past self
to savor every colorful memory
maybe then those memories like fluttering birds
could have left me with some feathers of feeling
licking gelato on the streets of Rome
cool sweet gelato melting on my tongue
washing away the heat
like gentle rain on an aching body
The memory of diving
into the almost deep end of the pool
calm swirling beams of light
twisting through the blue water
in contrast to the shaking inside
That is how I remember

If I knew then what I know now
behind the walls
that were once my sanctuary
I would prepare myself for the walks
that remind me there is more than my house
walking five miles
the long walk in the woods
lush greens grit and walking across clear rivers
The neighborhood walk
that isn’t even that long
Crisp, cool air and dying petals
falling like our voices on the silent streets
The stripes of dirt on pink bike tires
Walking isn’t just walking anymore

if the me in the future
came up to me right now
and told me what was going to happen
to this mess

I could know
when this will all be over


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