I always give people a disclaimer. I’m not a poet, and I don’t pretend to be one.

Today someone important to me is graduating from high school. It isn’t what we planned, obviously. Nothing in her life has ever been what we planned. A few weeks ago I wanted to express that, so I wrote a poem. Here it is.


I think back on those days

The crooked pigtails, the shining eyes

All your emotions on your face

Whether you were determined to pull yourself up on the beam

Or mad at me for insisting on shoes

And changing your clothes four times a day

And never ever call you by a nickname

I didn’t know what would become of you

And if this world was too much for a girl like you

Chattering, sharing your words like a magpie

Going for broke whatever you did

Whether walking by yourself or hitting someone with a hockey stick.

I didn’t know how the world would be too much.

When twenty first graders were shot at school

And you cried that they would never learn more

And that Christmas was coming

When your friend started a pro-life club in a school

(and how does that not violate a separation of church and state?)

When your knees stopped supporting your vault and you had to quit

When no matter how fast you skated the coach only had eyes for the established stars

Not seeing your shine

When it wasn’t your fault and you blamed yourself

When you were let down by the people I trusted

When you were interested in everything in a world that demands specialization

And you thought that meant you were less than.

I remember that baby with the shining brown eyes;

I didn’t expect so many things I couldn’t fix.

The decisions made without me

All the ways we tried to make it work better

The people who wouldn’t help

Or even cooperate.

And now it’s too late for all of that

And all I have left is hope, shining out into the world with you.

And hope is what I always had.