Victoria Gauza

Eight Years Old

Eight years old.
I was eight years old.
Eight years old when my words,
Scrawled in pencil, smudged against the edge of my hand,
Were first shared with the world. 
My classmates all watched me,
Eyes brown, hazel, blue,
I did not look at them.
I could not look at them.
I sat in an oak chair
That rocked back and forth,
Creaking beneath my weight.
It was cushioned by a pillow
Worn down by dozens of students just like me.
Did they sit for the same purpose?
Did they clutch their words close to their polo shirt,
Tight enough where it wouldn’t be a surprise
to see them pressed into the white fabric?
Surely I was not unique in my struggles.
The teacher then joined them,
Blonde with a bob cut,
Glasses riding down the bridge of her nose.
She smiled right at me,
Gave a slow, steady nod,
So I set all my words free,
Let them linger in wreaths of sound,
Gave them a life outside the lines in which they’d been birthed. 
I showed them my drawings,
The dog with big, blue eyes,
The hamster with a Santa hat,
The car that confirmed I did not in fact know how to draw cars.
They too were my words.
They too were my story. 
It took three whole minutes.
But felt like a blink
And when I finally set the last word free,
Let it drift through my classroom, lit by the sun, 
I let my hand, filled with paper, fall to my side 
And waited for the inevitable verdict of my second grade audience.

About the Author: Victoria Gauza is an eighteen year old high school student from Arlington Heights, Illinois that has been writing ever since she can remember. Although her poetry is used as an outlet to process her own life experiences, she hopes that aspects of it can still resonate with her audience. Her work has been published in the 2022 edition of the D214 Arts Unlimited Anthology, as well as her school’s art, literary, and fashion magazine. She plans to continue her creative journey by studying film and media production at Arizona State University in the fall.