To Those Who Bruised and Grew Me by Angelica Tafas

To my abandoned fish tank
Who gave oil to the goldfish I won at the fair rather than cleaned the water.
Whom gave me the experience of loss and stages of grief.
Thank you.
To my third grade teacher
Who taught me that sometimes people don’t like you
And no matter how many times you bring them baked goods
Or offer to pass out papers with a broken arm,
You are still interrupting them from painting their nails under their desk
Thank you.
To the saleslady at the mall,
Who told my mother they didn’t sell clothes for heavyset children
When all I wanted was to buy clothes for dress down day, you smiled when I cried.
You taught me some people want to see you cry for their own amusement.
And that the thrift store next to the mall has cuter clothes.
Thank you.
To the boss who verbally abused my sister.
from whom i learned that people can take your loved ones away,
And make them quiet and eternally tired and unsociable,
Despite how happy they were 3 months ago.
Thank you.
For the boy who made my best friend cry.
From you I was given the gift of anger and control
Because pay back wouldn’t fix the pain and broken trust you gave her, but a friend to sit and cry
with her would.
Thank you.
And Finally to the ones who never responded,
Full of empty application emails, unresponded letters, open text’s or, simply a never-answered
from teaching me patience and forgetfulness,
As over time I forgot the torture of waiting and pain of silence, and was able to move on.
Thank you.
Thank you, each and every one of you,
For all the gifts, lessons and, new experiences.
From you all I learned my worth,
Which after much time,
I know is much more than the bruises which grew me.


My name is Angelica Tafas. I am a rising sophomore at Classical Magnet school in Hartford, CT, making me 15 years old. I am an actress in and out of school and singer as well. I enjoy school as much as a teen can I suppose, they are the best and worst years of your life. I like to think I am a pretty big feminist so that often comes out in my work, but I also write a lot of coming of age as growing up honestly scares me. In the end, no matter what I wrote about, i want my reader to have the feeling I felt when I wrote the poem itself. I want them to leave with a memory or new thought. Poetry helps me face what scares me or find new ways to see something inside of myself, and I hope that upon reading my poems, you feel as I felt as well.