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What Have You Lost?
How old were you when they asked that fateful question?
The one that was supposed to decide your destiny,
that first step into eternity.
You were five,
and you said you wanted to be a vet,
All the little girls did, in their pink dresses
that smelled like fabric softener and fresh grass
and who knew about the blind dog in your backyard.
You were six,
with a banner of chalk letters looming over your head, the teacher’s finest handwriting.
You said you wanted to be a singer.
All the little girls did, in their tutu skirts and converse,
and your penchant for false talent.
You were eight,
and you saw it coming.
They were relentless. You said you wanted to be a doctor,
because all the little girls did.
So did the big girls, and you wanted to be just like them, didn’t you?
Three years passed, and you were eleven.
Perhaps they had forgotten the question.
But soon they remembered again.
You said you wanted to be a marine biologist, because all the boys and girls did,
and the girl who you so desperately wanted to be best friends with did,
so you did too.
You did not care about the fish,
And you did not want to swim.
You were thirteen, and they asked you again.
Would they ever stop?
You said you wanted to be a cartoonist,
like your older cousin. You spent hours sketching but never got anywhere.
You were sixteen, and soon enough they did not remember the question anymore.
You were sixteen, and you did not have a clue.
Why not a singer?
Why not a vet?
Why not a doctor, or a marine biologist, or a cartoonist?
You were sixteen, and you had let go of everything you once wanted.
You were sixteen, and you did not know the answer anymore.