The Message

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Contributor: Frank Grigonis

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When I was a
little kid
I’d walk around
and pick up random
pieces of paper
off the ground,
like receipts
for minor purchases
and discarded
burger wrappers.
I’d turn them over
searching for
a message
that might
lead me to some
long-buried treasure
or maybe even answer
one of the questions
then plaguing me,
what should I say to
the beautiful blonde-
haired girl
who lived on my street?
I also hoped to find
a word of
from God
specifically addressed
to me
by name.
That would have helped
because even then
I was beginning to feel
that life didn’t make sense
or often lead
to happy endings
like in the movie
that played only
in the theater
of my mind.
In that imaginary film
one day I picked up
a candy bar wrapper
from the street, then
turned it inside out
and saw the message:
“I Love You, Frank”
written in
pink ink
and signed
by the same
beautiful blonde-haired
girl who lived
on my street.
But I never really
found that message
and it wasn’t until
junior high that
I finally
got to the point
where I no longer believed that
random trash from the road
might speak to me
and change my life.
Then one cold day
on the school bus
a dark-haired girl
I’d never seen before
walked up to me
and shoved a piece
of paper into
my coat pocket,
then walked away
without saying a word.
The paper said, “I like you”
and even though
the girl who’d written it
wasn’t the blonde-haired girl,
she was kind
of cute,
and I was moved
by her bravery
and the message.
So I looked for her
on the bus after that
and around school,
but I never
saw her again.
This only reinforced
my belief that life
was random and
didn’t make much sense,
and since then
most of it hasn’t.
But still
I remember
that magical message
she shoved into
my coat pocket
thirty years ago,
and if I could
I’d stick
this poem
in her pocket
right now.

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Frank Grigonis likes paper.


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