Anna Schultz-Girl Sitting On Bed Facing Wall

I Stand Behind Exclamation Points

This poem was written in the style of a nonet by someone who wishes to remain anonymous. It goes out to everyone who has ever stood concealed behind exclamation points and smiles, hoping for someone to break through.


A nonet poem contains nine lines, starting with nine syllables in the first line, then eight syllables, then seven, all the way down to one in the final line. If this poem touched your heart in any way, please pass it on.



I stand behind exclamation points

My false sense of enthusiasm

And smiley faces hiding

 That hole of mine inside

Call it emptiness

A gaping void

Say I’m fine

I am



Vulnerability is weakness

So we don’t let anything show

Yet we continue to wish

That somebody would hear

Know, notice our cry

Silent, pleading

A kind word

All we



You want to laugh and smile a second

Want the emptiness to be filled

Yet you wait, hoping, wishing

Empty wasn’t so strong

Because it will win

The empty wins





I think of people all of the time

But I wonder if someone could

Be thinking of me also?

I don’t want to bother…

Afraid to reach out

So hot showers,

Blankets are

My warmth



We are all fighters, that’s what they say

We will live, it will be alright

But someone who doesn’t say

‘It will all be alright’

But makes it alright

That’s what we want…

Too easy




Never truly know what someone else

Is going through; the outside’s fine

You don’t have thirteen reasons

Why do you feel this way?

Don’t stare at your phone

Don’t wait for it

Don’t count on




It is hard making it look easy

Is it just me, or does the world

Look a little bit grayer?

Before I fly away

Penny for my thoughts?

See, here is what

I’ve realized

I just



But we hold on, even if colors

Are not quite as bright anymore

Waiting for that needed hug

Or just a simple touch

Or that caring word

We keep looking

For that spark

Where is




The problem: to admit to someone

Would be to admit to yourself

So you are fine; I am fine

And I put on a smile

And I will be fine

Maybe not yet

But I will

Be fine



Because there is always hope on the horizon

Until there isn’t anymore