No one has ever described me as gentle and sweet
but there was a moment when I think
I could have gone that way.
I think it happened
that summer between
junior and senior high.
I don’t recall the circumstances
of my pivotal moment, or why
I instead went coarse and cold in seconds.
I just know that I started that next year
ripped up inside and as I scarred
Neither compassion nor sweetness
lasted long in me. I was a child, then
I became machinery
and chewed at the world and ripped it
as I had been ripped. I tore through
my lifetime like a paper shredder.
I kept the scraps. I can puzzle
them together to try and find a meaning
that was clear once and now is
damaged and obscure, or
I can toss them up in the air
and say it’s a victory celebration
for my triumph over the past but either way
I’m lying. There is a hole
in my own definition and I fill it with lies
because I don’t want to know
how I got this numb and careless.
There was summer full of sun
and swimming and being
young the right way,
and then there was fall
and I became a darker kind
of young which has led me to
this dim age. You describe me
however you want. Once
I could have been called
gentle and sweet.
What I am called now
is whatever was left to me after
that forgotten crossroad.