Kennedy’s assassination, 9/11,

The Challenger—you know exactly

where you were, what you wore

when devastation left its handprints

in the cement of your memory.

The first day of school, your first kiss,

your child’s birth—those balloons

of joy will stay inflated forever.

What you must dedicate yourself

to remembering are other moments,

delicate moments pivotal in the story of you.

Remember, for instance, where you stood

when the ache of loneliness introduced itself,

when disappointment first shook your hand.

Recall the plunge of your heart

the first time “sorry” was not good enough,

the first time you snared yourself in a lie.

Remember the loss of equilibrium

when your parents became people

with feelings and flaws.

Go back to the first secret you cradled,

the first kindness delivered in anonymity,

the first hand you led out of fear.

Remember the rhythm of your footsteps

the first time you walked away,

the silence the first time you didn’t.

Conjure the smooth stone you became

the first time you trusted yourself,

the first time you heard your voice

speak words that came only from you.


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