At eleven you might have showed promise of height
But genetics defeated you.
By thirteen you sat at the front
Of the classroom again.
Awkward, sharp-tongued gypsy with just vocabulary for defence
You built book castles in the air
With thoughts for companions.
At sixteen the whole world knew you'd never attract the boys.
Too many angles. Too outspoken.
Too self-sufficient to be easily charmed.
Too much the lone traveller on uncommon paths.
You buried your pain in words
In letters to a man-boy who'd break your heart in college
Though in hind sight, it was inevitable.
Back then your rage moved mountains
Fuelled by wounds that had no voice
Save through paper and keyboards and online games.
In the dark of a summer's night you wrestle with loss
Future balanced on the point of a kitchen knife.
Little one, I reach through the glass of two decades
Hand on your ghostly shoulder to tell you:
Your world did not end.
Your heart will break a thousand times more
Before you find your footing
But the past will not drown you.
You will make mistakes
The darkness will come again, many times
But you will fight, and you will live to sing the survivor's tale
Like lilacs in a dead land, your roots will go deep.
I will tell you, future to past:
Forgive your failures. Love yourself
A little more.
This is not the end, child with the face of my girlhood
It is only a colon.
In the end of this, is your beginning:
You fade into me, and I become you.