I Could Be Worse

Alexandra Smyth

Dear, I could be worse. That’s one of my favorite

sayings. These are the first things that come to

mind when I realize how much it hurt. I had no

right to forget. While I know I could live happily,

it’s like I can never fully escape. It’s hard to explain:

I don’t feel anything anymore. I carry two empty

bowls I’ve had to repeatedly fill on my own. I may

never make sense of cruelty, but I hope you have

the guts to do it. Sometimes I imagine life without

goodbye. I didn’t cry. It doesn’t change: I was born.

I was a miracle. Why is there no word for this feeling?

It will be your salvation too. When you reach the place

that you recognize entirely, you will thrive. You have

the capacity to fill – looking at the sky and the land and

the trees and the buildings and the streets – finally, finally.


Dear Sugar advice column #55, “The Empty Bowl.”

Alexandra Smyth is a graduate of the City College of New York MFA Creative Writing Program. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Cobalt Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and Stirring, among others. She was a 2015 finalist for the Gabriela Mistral Poetry Prize, and a 2014 recipient of the Poets & Writers Amy Award. She lives in Brooklyn.

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