Want to keep reading?

You've reached the end of your complimentary access. Subscribe for as little as $4/month.

Aready a Subscriber ? Sign In


I was ten. I stayed on the Upper West Side,
An old hotel with dusty paintings in gilded frames.
My father kept telling me not to lose anything
And not to be on my smartphone all the time.

I was on the third floor, not too far from the ground,
A view of a bird’s nest and dark alleyways
Cluttered with trash cans and filled
With loud music for the graduates.

As the day unfolded, aging parents woke up
And came down to take their coffee
At the French bistro Nice Matin,
Where croissants were warm and omelets runny.

As I watched these parents at breakfast,
I thought they looked both anxious and glad
And I wondered if they too felt like graduates
Starting a new adventure.

Soon these graduates will dissolve
Into a big new world, a hidden one
Beneath the water’s edge—
That I have yet to see, have yet to love.

Tatiana Rebecca Shrayer
Tatiana Rebecca Shrayer, 13
Brookline, Massachusetts