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Once upon a time, they met
Rosy cheeks, dandelions in the field
From morning’s first amber light,
Till the last rays of sun crest the horizon,
frolicking, carefree.
Youth is wasted on children.


Glistening tears of joy
Tasting the first summer ice cream
Curling up by the fire on cold winter nights
After the snowball fight,

the jovial war, fought by the teeny, grinning soldiers
Youth is wasted on children

Once upon a time, they went to school
Books, calculators
Trigonometry, Homer.
Rising before the sun, sleeping long after it sets
the papers spread across their beds like leaves on a blustery day
How do you stem the chaos?

The flow of knowledge couldn’t be stopped,
y = mx + b, George Washington, mitochondria
High school drama, extra-curriculars
Breakups,
hookups,
screw-ups.
SATs,
ACTs,
Midterms,
Finals,
Common App,
College search
The world was a cerebral maelstrom

How do you stem the chaos?

Take it,
He said.
The glass bottle. The little roll of paper.
The razor and mirror.

But he would have nothing of it.
His lips refused to touch Jack Daniels’ sensual neck
Or Marley’s herbal life-remedy

Once upon a time, they graduated
The mass of flowing black robes poured in around the podium.
Like mourners at a funeral, they waved goodbye to the ones they loved
Their brothers in books
Their affiliates in education

But their paths diverged

One became crimson with college spirit
The other became black with motor oil
One became green with wealth
The other became green with envy
Ph.D, private practice
Grease-covered pants, undersides of Fords
Woman of his dreams
Woman on 32nd street
Sent his kids to private school
Sent his kids to live with Mom
Takes Tylenol for a headache
Takes a draught for his troubles

How do you stem the chaos?

Once upon a time, he passed peacefully
into the ether…

The other attends the funeral, remembering his friend
Remembering the last time they stood in black robes together
Remembering the life he once had

And looking at the life he could have led




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