When I was young,
I heard the song of a caged blackbird singing,
I heard happiness and vitality in his voice,
like he was proud to have seen this year’s spring.
What I didn’t realize at the time
was that the blackbird song was not a song,
but an anthem of his misery,
for being confined in a shrinking jail,
repeating itself like a broken record player.
Unlike the bird, my cage was open and
my wings could unfurl, carrying me
to San Francisco, where I could
walk across the golden gate bridge,
to Tibet, where I could
climb Mt. Everest,
careful not to exert myself
because deep down I am frail.
My hands shake, my voice staggers
you could measure my self confidence
in the spoon-full of sugar I mix
into my morning coffee.
But if you give me a chance,
I will try my hardest to do my best,
and if it takes me a few tries,
it’s because I'm a spider,
carefully weaving a home between two branches.
When I have a daughter,
I’ll take pictures of her laughing
so that she can look back at the moments
when she forgot time existed
because when life slaps her in the face
I won’t always be there to hold her,
to make her favorite dinner that night.
She’ll come out with bruises on her hands,
too small to hold so much weight.
But I know she can survive with a smile,
which is why I want to be her inspiration
and keep getting back up
so she can look up at the sky
when she hears
the free blackbird singing.