The Conscience

September 21, 2009
A weak mother holds her new baby girl,
She’s the tiniest, most innocent, most beautiful thing she’s ever seen,
A little pink face wrapped in a creamy yellow blanket,
You were born,
And I was there too,

I watched the scene and smiled, a smile of simple satisfaction,
Of pride, of happiness, of contentment,
Nobody could see me, nobody could hear me,
I was nothing more than air to take up space,
I was neither ugly nor beautiful,
Tall nor short,
A man nor a woman,
I was nothing,
Just a voice with no soul to speak of,

When you laid alone in your plastic hospital crib,
Amused and bewildered by this strange new world,
I watched you again,
And simply flew away,
You wouldn’t need me for several more years,

You didn’t need to see me,
You could hear my light, airy voice whisper in your ear,
Guide you, comfort you, tell you right from wrong,
You were a little child then, and you were a good girl,
I loved you and you loved me,
You listened to me,
I was like you third parent,
We were friends,

I see all, I remember all,
You can hide nothing from me,
Not that stolen candy bar from your friend’s lunch,
Not the scooter you rode when you weren’t supposed to,
Not the little brother you hit when he stole your Barbie doll,
I tell you what’s right from wrong, I persuade you, I help you,
But that doesn’t mean you always listened to me,

You got older,
Eight, nine, ten, eleven,
Growing up, getting older, learning more,
Listening less,
Elementary years passed like the birds in the sky,
And you started to betray your friend,
You stopped listening,

You didn’t need to hear my lecture about right and wrong,
Parents were no longer your friends,
They were enemies,
I was your enemy,
I was to be ignored,

Middle school,
There were no easy friends anymore,
You had to be good enough, fit in, be right, be popular,
In order to be happy,
Your love for me twisted into hate,
As ugly as barbed wire,
And you abandoned me,

High school,
You don’t listen to me anymore,
I’m the friend-turned-foe you never call,
I’m the old elementary pal you give the cold shoulder,
I’m the wise older parents you choose to disregard,
You abandoned me in all ways,
But I never abandoned you,

Sixteen,
Sweet sixteen,
You get your driver’s license,
Pass with flying colors,
You and your new friends, the popular ones,
All drive down the road to the mall,
I’m in the backseat,
But you never hear me,

I told you to stop looking at your phone,
Ignore the texts our boyfriend sent you from skate camp,
Bad idea,
Very bad idea,

Eyes on the road!
Look out for that car!
LISTEN TO ME!!!
A bone-chilling, blood-curdling smash,
Two cars collide in a flurry of metal shrapnel,
The impact knocks the air from your lungs,

Before you can react,
One, two- another one, another smash,
Then two, then three,
Cars pile up, smash, crash, jam, and spiral on the freeway,
Ugly black skid marks on the paved cement,

It all settles in a flume of smoke,
You scream to drown out the whine of the paramedics,
Get yourself out of the metal death trap,
Get yourself away from your friend’s battered bodies,
You’re the only cry they hear,
The rest have been silenced by your mistake,

The paramedics whir you away,
You’re scarred, damaged, torn, permanently,
There’s nothing you can do,
There’s no digging yourself out of this mistake now,

I watch silently from the sidelines just like the day you were born,
Except this time, there’s no contented smile,
There’s no happiness,
Just a solemn look of disappointment, sadness, gloom, dread,
You could’ve listened to me,
But I was ignored,

In the hospital they tell you that you’ll never run at track again,
Stroll to school,
Or saunter down the beach,
Your new mobility is based on a chair with wheels,
You could’ve listened to me,
You should’ve listened to me,
But I was ignored,

You stare up at the colorless ceiling,
A white hospital room, full of brightly colored gloom,
And you ask me the first question in many years,
You speak to me again, as a friend,
“What did I do to deserve this?”

And I reply, “You could’ve listened to me,”
“And not your cell phone,”

It’s always too late to rewrite the past,
But it’s never too late to revise the future,





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