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The Shell of a Human Being

A poem on pretending to be human

The silhouette of someone looking down
Photo by Majestic Lukas on Unsplash

There are holes in my humanity;
There are tears in my skin;
There’s a world of pain behind my indifference
And the feeling I’m a stranger, looking in.

I snap my pen into shards of plastic,
Just to feel the burning cuts
And I stay up late into the morning,
To procrastinate waking up.

In school I’d miss my deadlines sometimes,
To earn the solitude of a detention
And I’d walk through the grounds as though I’d someplace to be
To avoid a stranger’s attention.

Ne’er a smile nor a laugh
That comes from my own sincerity.
Ne’er a sound of my own accord,
A natural temerity.

There are masses of effort I put into seeming
Like I’m just as human as everyone else in the room
But it only gives me the shell of a human being
And it’s easy to see through.

For upon the utterance of a mere word,
It’s clear to whoever hears it,
That my tone is feigned
And I am expressionless and faceless.

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If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, we encourage you to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1–800–273-TALK (8255).
This lifeline is free and confidential. It is open 24 hours a day and provides support, information, and local resources to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress and those around them. Call for more information or visit






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