Vanderbilt's Undergraduate Literary & Arts Journal

The Vanderbilt Review

The Vanderbilt Review

The Vanderbilt Review

Weak Day Morning
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Good morning, the alarm clock sings. Look at today:
Blank calendar squares blink at blanker pages strewn
Across dusty desks. No bustling chorus echoes.
Words refuse to speak and numbers refuse to count.


Breakfast is pellets popped out by the clattering,
Cackling little witch-bottle, contents chaperoned
By the dying breaths of last Friday’s teeth-brushing,
Last week’s lunch, stifled sobs—far too filling these days.


In lieu of weighty calendar dates, the scale keeps
A daily countdown—zero will come in no time.
Time to rise and shine, says the alarm clock. Look at
The time! The waistband sags to jutting pelvic bones.


All the more reason to stay in the unmade bed,
Wait in the undug grave. Pencils slip out of the
Tremulous grip of a cold-numb hand only to
Roll over raving and ranting, half-hearted scrawls.


Scenes and storybooks scramble themselves into strange
Texts and tomes and tirades: useless, worthless, pointless.
Smiles are sneers; pills and perfunctory pleasantries
Are punishments. Now, the world turns gray and grinds to


A grating halt—wait. No, it does not stop at all.
Inside icy impenetrable walls plastered
With missed memos and missing unwanted posters,
Cogs and gears whirl wildly, stupidly, helplessly.


Today is a weekday! laments the alarmed clock.
The sun beams high in the sky—always the tyrant—
But morning does not come, so the clock screams itself
Into subdued silence. Today is a weak day.

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About the Contributor
Phoebe Cao, Contributor
Phoebe Cao (she/they) is a junior from Irvine, California. They are majoring in neuroscience and violin performance. A fun fact about them is that they have a cat and a younger sister back home, and they're inseparable yet constantly fighting.

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