“MTA” by Maisie Williams

Maisie Williams


It’s funny how the sound means nothing
A shot like the loudest heartbeat
Is nothing compared to the engine heat on my side lying on the floor of the bus


Afterwards all I could think was Of Course
Of Course it was real and Of Course they came from the school
And Of Course I was there when it happened


They say we can no longer distinguish fantasy from reality
And I kept thinking I know when I’m asleep and when I’m awake
I didn’t realize they meant we no longer knew how to act while awake


Like water shooters
Like toys, like pointed trigger fingers
Like the loudest heartbeat


Like the sound
Of hitting the bass drum
When the tarp tears


I spent forever trying to describe that sound
All after it had happened
Which is funny, because it didn’t mean anything to me then


I kept thinking Is this real?
I kept thinking It can’t be
I kept thinking while it was


The sweat sticky on my fingers
I don’t put my headphones on
I want myself to suffer the sound of the sirens and know it could have been me


I want to tell him
I want to tell her
I don’t


I lie to my parents so they don’t have to worry
I lie to my friends because they don’t need to know
I lie to myself when I say I’m okay


Lying on the floor of the bus
Is the first time I think of death and am legitimately scared
My life does not flash by but I think of my mother and how I don’t want this for her


When I feel that I am about to die
For the first time
My only regrets are never being loved and my mother having to find me this way


I say, “It all looks different: strollers with blankets on top.”
“Kids laughing too loud, like, are you laughing or screaming?”
“Strange people,” I pause, “Hands in pockets.”

Poets Respond
May 1, 2016


Maisie Williams: “A shooting occurred at my bus station. The first one ever there … and it happened while I was there. This poem is made of short pieces, because it happened so fast, and because my feelings about this event came to me in quick intervals as I slowly came to terms with what was happening. This poem is one of many small bursts of feeling that occurred throughout a week of trying to ignore and forget. Tiny memories I clung to, conversations I had with friends who were there too. This is sort of my path of grieving. I put all of these tiny poems together like stanzas, but they really exist on their own as separate three-line poems. It makes more sense to me this way. I just want to accept what happened.”

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