Conversations with a Younger Me

“What is the future
like?” the adolescent
asks.

The hood masks naiveté but only
to him-
eyes tell a
story of
superfluous mourning that lives
off the grid.

“It’s bright,” I say to
him, “You have a passion to write,
a poet in the prices
you’ll have to pay, for
both those you love,
and whom you
come to
dismay.

You’ll hear music
in monotony,
see metaphors
in any mockery
and find some fortitude in
falling apart.”

“That sounds good,” he said, pulling his hood further down his face. “What else?”

“Certain hands will
be dealt, and some will
be squandered.
Some will be
heartfelt, and yet another’s
never fonder than
in absence.

And you will be a father, as well.”

“That’s madness!” he yells. “How is it I won’t fail, like my own father said? How is it you’re not haunted by the ghosts of his dead?

Why are you happy, and I’m a sinking ship?”

“Because I grew up,
and I got a grip.
But let me say this.

This world is no rose,
but I’ve learned to
outwit
most of its
thorns,
court the petals and
behold its beauty rather
than touch.”

“So I will fall in love?”

“Many times over, endlessly, true.”

“And I
have a son?”

“A daughter. One who can count promises to her broken much easier than those kept. One who drives you one point to the next, rather than for the voids between.

She is your
anchor
and the
heart on
your sleeve,

and like you in all the ways you tried not to be.”

“Huh,” former shades of
myself reply, “I always thought I’d die by twenty.
So I guess everything about us changed?”

“Not everything,” I smile.

“Hey, have you ever
eaten weed in
cake?”

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