poetry

A Lifelong Commitment to Self-Efficacy

17 July 2018

                There’s only so much
other people can do for you
The first time I remember hurting myself
my nose hit the timber separating
tanbark and
asphalt
My blood came out orange
and I wasn’t scared and it didn’t hurt
so why was the teacher on yard duty telling me it was all going
to be
okay?
Adults use that word
when they don’t believe it themselves
and I remember thinking in that moment
that I was going to grow up
with a nose like Owen Wilson’s
and that wasn’t okay

                When you grow up there will be
                so many jobs
that don’t even exist yet
The first sound I remember hearing is the spooky
trills and beep beep
boops of dial-up
My sister and I pretended that there was an apocalypse
whenever my father had an incoming fax
The sound is so shrill you feel like you’re being abducted
by aliens
And we would draw the sounds we heard
trying to find patterns in the madness
but within the scribbles we found
nothing worthy
of an elaborate government conspiracy theory

                If you use your ring finger to press,
you’ll never get a wrinkle
The first time I remember embarrassing myself
Reciting I love a sunburnt country
but finishing each line would be
relieving
and starting the next
my hands would clasp together
because at home I would fumble between
drought and flooding rains
My father printed a copy for me and dog-eared, I
could not remember
because in class that day I must have felt
at home

                Life has a funny way of working out
The first time I cried in front of an adult who
wasn’t family
She tried to comfort me by telling me that she
sleeps hooked up to a CPAP
and it scared her boyfriend away, and that
her father had recently been
decapitated, a freak accident
and I remember feeling sorry for her but sorrier for
myself
because why do adults think that coercing gratitude
will make you feel better?
as if hearing the worst things to happen to someone else
will make me feel
grateful
or maybe she told me these things so that I could comfort her
in which case I could not, for
I was a child who had not yet made
a lifelong commitment to
self-efficacy


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