Jun 27

Sunken dime

I was fearless. Untouchable. Knew who I was. What I wanted.
“Life is hard”? Yeah, maybe for
some but
not for me.
I had it all figured out.

There wasn’t much I needed to wish for, but the act of it was fun.
My dime shone at the bottom of the mall fountain, bright against
All those rusty pennies from the kind of people who would
Sit at the edge of the water and
Sigh, all starry-eyed.
I wasn’t like them. I was business. I whispered my wish. Not breathy. Firm:

Make me a hero.

I hadn’t noticed she was watching. She maybe
Went to my school, but I didn’t remember.

A hero, huh? Almost accusatory.
You should take up people-watching.

I blinked. Glanced from the bustling makeup-store patrons to the
Five-year-old at the gumball machine. Their full bags. His gleaming quarter.

Not those people.

I knew what she meant then. I didn’t want to.

I think that was the point.

One of those starry-eyed wishers,
slumped into their shoulders at the fountain’s edge.

The kid almost hidden in their hoodie
pointedly looking away from the person across the
table at the food court.

The scratched hands of a
woman in the corner, as she
riffled through her bag.
Something was lost besides her car keys.

Part of me throbbed, a
muscle I didn’t know about.
It irked me and
I wanted to yell. Or cry.
Why did I want to cry?

I couldn’t escape it, because it was everywhere.
On the bus home.
On the news.
I couldn’t look my sibling in the eye because I
somehow knew I’d find it there too, and I knew it would be too much. I never wanted
to see anyone again, didn't want their
pain to shred up the comfort I was so used to,
but something in me asked why I’d
never seen it before. Why I’d
never cared to recognize it, because

why is it that the
only thing i don’t want to handle is
others’ adversity?

why is my mind too small
too ignorant
too accommodate sufferings greater than my own?

and what if it’s not that
my mind is too small but
just that it refuses to make space?

why can’t i make space?

why didn't i ever think of how much
better the world could be
if i did?

[This is inspired by a lot of other stories (some more than others) including Quinn from All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brandon Kiely, the piece Golden Boy by yejunee, Jeff from the show Community and the ending of Son by Lois Lowry. The main theme is based on something our social studies teacher taught us in 6th grade, and I kind of stole the people-watching thing from a different poem I wrote.]