A LiveJournal Entry at 17
Daniella Levy

Some things are too sad even for tears.
You just sit there, staring blankly at the wall,
your heart dutifully pumping on
just to spite you.

Sometimes you sit there across from a friend who needs something,
who needs to be cradled in everlasting love and comfort,
and you want her to be happy so much and you just can’t give her that happiness.
Some things are taken away from people…
and some things take themselves away from people,
and what do you say when she’s left there,
heart torn to shreds,
wanting only for things to be normal again
and you know they never will be?

She tells you not to cry,
but as you watch her dissolve into tears you can’t help it,
and there’s nothing in your heart other than her right then—
there’s no you,
no world,
just her and her pain,
and all you want is for that pain to go away
but it doesn’t,
and there’s nothing you can do.

Some people you can know your whole life and never really know.
Some people can turn the tables, just like that,
flip the coin and—
suddenly the rest of the room is drowned in light
and you see something ugly,
something you never wanted to know,
but something she must tell you
because she has been destroyed by it.
And you stand there watching
and she sits there hurting
and you keep telling yourself that you can’t judge,
you can’t judge,
you’re just an observer,
a heartbroken outsider.

And you sit in silence for a while,
and she begs you to make her laugh,
to tell her something happy,
and you dive into that world eagerly just to see her eyes light up once more,
and you feel like the whole world just lit up three thousand watts
and you wish it could stay that way,
but it won’t.
And she looks you in the eye and tells you to please not tell,
that it’s something that has to be kept within the walls of your soul,
and she knows it’s hard to contain such a secret
but I must do it for her.
And I promise
because I know that’s what’s right;
all those who have to know
already do.

Don’t ask me to tell.
Because I won’t.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: A selfie before they were called selfies. In my room in Rehovot, Israel, age 17 (June 2004).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was composed from a LiveJournal entry I wrote when I was 17 years old, about a conversation I’d had with a friend. Only line breaks were added. Not a single word was changed.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daniella Levy is a writer, translator, and educator living in Israel with her husband and three sons. She is the author of Letters to Josep: An Introduction to Judaism, and her debut novel, An Ancient Whisper, is forthcoming from Kasva Press. She blogs about Judaism and life in Israel at LetterstoJosep.com, and about resilience in the face of rejection at The Rejection Survival Guide. Her poetry, short fiction, and articles have been published in English and Hebrew in Reckoning, the Jewish Literary Journal, Pnima Magazine, and Veils, Halos & Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression & Empowerment of Women as well as websites such as Kveller, Aish.com, and Ynet News. Connect with her at Daniella-Levy.com, and follow her on Twitter at @DaniellaNLevy.