I Began on All Fours

We were all babies.

Nightcrawling through hometowns,

Smoke filling our lungs and mirrors our greatest fear.

Selling brains for the chance to fly.


I was a coyote.

Scrounging in a pack perpetually licking wounds.

I slept until the night, ran from the sound of my own echoing footsteps.

Only quieted by the droning of the highway.

A blindly optimistic runt,

From a litter to afraid to look up.


Then a chance encounter,

a book sold over garage sale counter.

Taught me to build a ladder,

With parts bought in a secondhand bookstore.

And when I fell off,

Pages curled under

to save my wonder.

To climb the giants back,

I then built a stairway

Out of yawning bookshelves,

That taught me what to say

If I met myself.

Now, finally,

My own two hands,

My feet and fingers,

Cross mountain passes.

And can catch me when I fall.

In the darkness of December

It helps to remember,

When I'm serenaded by tempting songs.

That I can reach where the giants have gone.

While surrounded by whimpering pups in a frozen night

Or babes wailing in fright,

That wisdom means you have this foresight:

Remember the score,

Every step,

Is a mountain,

When I began scrounging, crawling, and crying on all fours.


This poem is about: 
My community


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