My Story

My Story * by Nancy Schatz Alton

Put your stories down, they say—

they are too heavy

and they make you angry.


You want a prettier word

for make. Furthermore

you want the I.


The I of your stories

to say,

It happened to me.


Oh life, you gave me

this grief

and I wore it.


I curled up

with it

in my bed


and I worried

it not to sleep

but to wake


to be endlessly


with the worry


of my own death

am I dying?



I am lying in bed

I am not lying:

It hurts.


I hurt.

Learning of death

always hurts.


Age 13

or older

it stops you


in your tracks

as others wake up

and see to their days


there’s no explaining

what gripped you all

those years.


It’s why you love

the Buddhists

for their thoughts on suffering.


Yet you,

no I,

I have


a solid understanding

of suffering

life gone too soon


stories that will

-stop anyone- from living

outside of their bed


if they think too much.

These stories

are mine.


I tell them

because I want to

live outside my home.


I am telling

my story

to save my life.


*I wrote this piece after being inspired by “Imperatives for Carrying On in the Aftermath” by Natasha Trethewey










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