Yet to Live

You really must know that I didn’t pave my own way,
that I was not just reborn one day
as “the smart one,” “the capable one,” “the one to depend on;”
and that I am instead an assorted culmination
of the Love poured into me by those who knew to see
a little boy, not as such, but as a soon to be…

A soon to be what? For many years it varied,
from “a soon to be pianist” to a “soon to be athlete;”
and eventually that “soon to be” became a load I had carried
across my childhood, every now and then pulverizing
a memory or a desire. With time I felt the souls of my feet
callousing and I found this “soon to be” such a great burdening.

Still I kept moving, not because I wanted to or
because it became easier, but because I had accumulated a debt
I had to reimburse. Growing up I saw the sacrifice my mother,and her mother,
and countless others had made to keep me up above the waves;
they pretended, as they lifted me on their shoulders, that I could avoid being beset
by the calamities they had faced upon life’s cruel exclave.

And even though my clothes were soaked and I lied gasping for air,
I had made it, thanks to them. And so, as Plato famously
allegorized through his cave, it had become my duty
to return and pull them out, to lead them from that dark lair
that had so mercilessly hid their eyes from the treasures
that filled their dreams once, when they were leisurely amblers.

So when you tell me you think I am smug or conceited you are simply
affirming your ignorance, because nothing I’ve done was ever for me.
When you walk by me in the hall with your friends and you snicker,
you don’t realize that, unlike other kids my age, I have a responsibility,
both to myself and my own. The reality is that I envy how free you can be;
how carelessly you are allowed to act while I commit to a cause out of kilter.

Despite this I remain in reticence and keep myself within my self-made pens;
for I have my whole faculty to give, and debts to pay before I really live.


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