If you want to know what it’s like to be seventeen again,
Here is what you do:
Look at yourself in the mirror;
Try to see past the lines, the scars, the sag
Plow through the heartbreak,
The moments of despair, the broken resolutions
The promises of – and potential – wasted.
Cut through seven years of wrenching disillusionment
and so many moments spent
in wanting of, hoping for, hurting of – yourself, others.
Go deeper still.
Turn right at your demons, vices, dragons yet-to-be-slain.
You’ll pass through a gallery of faces,
Filled with those of the ones you loved – and still love – madly,
But hurt – deeply – running away, as always,
from yourself, your decisions, your addictions.
Remember their faces, their sorrow, and their despair
upon discovering the sickness inside of you:
the Dragon that you didn’t have the courage to slay then,
the Dragon you might never put to rest.
Remember her, especially.
Remember her tears and the years
It took to move past it all.
Hold your regret in your arms.
Nurture it as you would a child.
Go further, through the twists and turns
of a life you only dimly recall,
Until you reach an ill-lit room and find
a small child that was you and is you.
You find that seventeen again was you running.
Running away from that small, weak and frightened boy
You were afraid that you were and would always be.
You count all the girls, the women
you were always seventeen with
and you realize you sometimes
still think of yourself in that way –
seventeen, alone, lonely and frightened.