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.