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Personal Narrative: Their Bodies

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My name was announced. The silence in the room allowed me to hear the judges’ pens scratch through my concise, four- letter name. With my baggy blue button- down, and all black dress- pants on, I proceeded down the auditorium aisle and onto the stage. Even though the crowd consisted of only around 30 uninterested students who purposefully displayed their lack of care, I still felt a pressing audience. Turning to my public- speaking teacher, I acknowledged the “you-may-begin” nod and turned back to the crowd, realizing what I had gotten myself into.

I was never a poetry enthusiast and being forced to recite a poem did not appeal to me. My teacher chose a poem called “Their Bodies” by David Wagoner, a solemn piece about a doctor explaining to a group of people the importance of respecting dead bodies and the story of the inhabitant’s end. Reading through the poem was monotonous and having to perform this on a stage with high schoolers (of all people), had me reluctant. Coupled with the fact that I was a freshman while most of the people in the audience were seniors, I panicked at the
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When they finish and their eyes open to see the reaction of the crowd, that is when they truly feel accomplished. Similarly, when I finished speaking, I felt as if my eyes had just “opened” to their surroundings. To my left, the judges were deep in their rubrics, slightly nodding their heads and raising their eyebrows. To my right, the other contestants, faces petrified as if seeing something that can never be unseen. In front me, a crowd of only around 30 students, now completely engrossed and clapping to a teenager in a baggy shirt and dress pants. I concluded that my purpose for delivering this poem was not to impress the judges with an emotional portrayal preaching respect. My goal was to leave the audience in awe simply for the message that David Wagoner and I were
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