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Sometimes I Am
Sometimes I am a child craving my mother’s arms.
I wail and I want for the calm of such certain solution,
a love that is seamless and ceaseless
in a world that misleads by its promise of safety and rules.
Playground grass trampled by a thousand little feet,
when we scurried and chased in euphoric bliss.
The simplicity was intricate at that height.
The simplicity never stopped being beautiful.
Only now that I read the fine lines and fine print
do I look on that simplicity and whisper peace wistfully,
do I look on these intricacies and wish I were blinded by something called innocence.
My aged and open eyes see beasts here, and beauties with bad luck,
bad decisions beneath rocks and in plain sight lies pain;
pain with its many names;
greed, with its grinning facade of gains;
selfishness- if it doesn’t smash you, you might be the one sporting its shoes.
Loss and harm and ill-will and here is a receipt, sir, are you strong still or badly broken?
Take a tube of Hope and glob copious amounts on your heart
so that happiness, we never stop hunting.
Right now I am a child craving my mother’s arms,
but on the brink of seventeen I see it all too clearly.
Pupils contract in the face of such a sharp searing truth.
I can look long on mother, close my eyes, anticipate
and still, the rabbit won’t be pulled from her hat.
Her hug has lost its essence of elucidation.
I see my mom as a name and face, a Susan, a human,
one with flaws and fears and feelings.
She does not, as I once believed, bear every answer.
No, rabbits do not appear from top hats without having been put there in the first place.
I can barely even lie to myself, as I once could.
Make-believe knows me no longer,
and magic is an old friend who’s left my company;
moved on, I suppose, to the thousand new people born last hour.
Calculus sure isn’t kindegarten class.
Our recesses include true witches’ curse words and drug fables.
I still believe high school suffers from the absence of swingsets,
nap time, too, for we lose more sleep at this age
when we’re old enough to wonder and worry and tread uneven ground.
I wish Ms. Teacher could come calling to some of the crying,
slap a bandaid on the crowd and kiss each issue away.
For really, we’re all children here.
Though we see the world as good as any grown up
just yesteryear, we kept a faith unfailing,
confidence in an adult’s ability to hold safe our skin, forever,
and trust in the world to be kinder than the concrete with which our knees collided
I still see the sky and query which crayon color…
crayons, wax bits between my teeth and face twisted at the flavor.
You’d think cerulean would taste prettier, wouldn’t you?
I’m not sure how to end this poem of restless, nostalgic complaint.
Its fragments of sentence steeped in lamentation,
all because why?
Because it is one of those nights when my lids drift just a little bit,
when I’m more child than grown up
and I gimpse not so much the reality of what is
but more the memory of what is no longer,
while acknowledging the responsibility of this present
the possibilities of the future
and the danger at every decision.
When my eyes open and Mom’s top hat shows no trace of hare,
and I frown at my mother’s small shrug.
One of those nights when I wonder if adult life
will ever find me so content as I had been below five feet,
and if this truth is worth the magic I so eagerly waved away.
Sometimes I am but a child craving my mother’s arms.