Special to Montclair Local

Maya Gutierrez, 14, wrote this poem for a school assignment, expressing her feelings during this turbulent time. She recently graduated from Buzz Aldrin Middle School.

Graduation, the time to celebrate
The time to get your head straight
The time to think about your long-term future and goals
The time to feel at ease, proud and whole
The time to say goodbye to your fellow peers
The time to overcome your greatest fears
The time to make new memories with your class
But never forget the good times passed
The time to spend your last moments with your friends
Now how would you feel if that all came to an end?

What if your worst fears became your reality?
What if screens became your new normality?
What if your refuge became like your new cage?
Barely allowing you to contain all your rage
What if your biggest surprise was never getting to say goodbye?
Now only making you want to cry
What if all your hard work seemed to become meaningless?
To mirror a school that’s now become spiritless
What if all your thoughts turned to dust
And now your hopes aren’t enough?
What if the tears now only a stream
Became like a flood trying to wash away all your hopes and dreams
What if the disappointment rushing through your veins
Hardly allowed you to contain all your pain?
What if all the hurt that you dread
Held on like a thread?
What if your dreams suddenly turned to ash?
Now how would you feel if that all vanished in a flash?

We can’t make up the precious time past
Or the memories that would be forged to last

Looking back now on March 12 seeing my classmates faces I only feel anger and regret
For what’s to come
For what we have to face
For what we have seen and cannot hide from
For what we’ve lost
For what we took for granted
For what we didn’t know at the time
For what we didn’t know would turn into an eternity
For the suffering this has caused us
For the effect it has had on us
Now how would you feel if you lost all trust?

But could all this lonely isolation
Lead us to a new salvation?
Could all this fear bottled up in our hearts
Lead us to see that we are really not that far apart?
Could all this anxiety and frustration
Lead us to have more appreciation?
Could all this devastation lingering within
Lead us to see it’s our time to win?
Could all these tears that have been wept
Lead us to rise up from the depths?
Could all this anger and regret
Lead us to realize our greatest strengths yet?