Ella LaBarre

a reason to live

Someone asked me once why they should stay alive. 
                        I paused, hesitated, and said—I’ll have to get back to you on that. 
No response.
I think they were looking for an easy answer // 
There are easy answers. 
                                       I could have told them to live for me,

                                 or to live so their dog gets fed on time.
         There are easy answers, but they’re never the good ones.

Because choosing to live is more complicated than that. 
It’s labor and equal exchange: 
asthma and sore throats 
                                       for the air you breathe when you finally remember 
you’re surrounded by it.  

Just because I couldn’t tell you why to live right 
away doesn't mean there’s not a good reason,

it means there’s a better one. 

Don’t you remember better things are always harder to find?
So look harder, your socks didn’t disappear, they're still stuck in the washing machine.
The answer is on the next page 
                                       but read through this one another time just in case.

Ella LaBarre is a freshman at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. She is pursuing a degree in English and a Concentration in Education. She has been previously published in her college’s literary magazines: The Grinnell Review and Grinnell Underground Magazine. Ella is a lover of handwritten letters, singing constantly, and the feeling of home.

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