Induced growth

Induced growth

By Gianna Ritto


Growing up

How funny these two words are

I thought they were far away

But really they were just at bay.


At the age of three I learned quickly

How life works swiftly

And how I had to grow up relentlessly.


I had to be a bystander the age of five

While other kids were playing outside

I watching my grandmother try to stay alive.


At the age of five I had to act nine

Act older and wiser and more mature

Hide my feelings and act like I was fine.


I had to be a lifesaver and protector at eight

Before my choir recital

I was calling 911 crying endlessly asking them to come as soon as possible

Before it was too late.


At the age of eight I had to act like thirteen

Give up playing with other kids

And become unseen.


I had to become frugal at the age of eleven

While kids my age were getting video games and expensive presents

I was telling my mother I’d rather not get anything

Telling myself I was acting like a selfish king.


At the age of eleven I had to act thirty

Save money, act frugally

And never act selfishly.


And then everything stopped

Time stood still

My whole world collapsed

My heart had dropped.

My grandmother had died


And I could nothing but support my mother

It might sound frigid  but I never cried.

Because I knew that I had to act older than I had ever acted before.


I had to act like a seasoned person who has felt pain and loss before

And I knew that if I cried, I wouldn’t have been able to pick up the broken pieces.


I might have grown up way before my age

Feeling pain and heartbreak.


But I am glad for this privilege because

I would not have been who I am at this stage of my life.


This poem is about: 
My family


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