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.