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Poem: How Far Does a Child Stretch?

By: Hana Khalyleh


How Far Does a Child Stretch?
A horrible question, I know, but isn’t that what aging is?
Rising more paper thin after every scraped knee and memory scabbed over,
Yet taller and taller after each step?
We measure our lives in units of misery nowadays.
Showering ourselves with sparkling pieces of armor, calling them crystallized teardrops
When we all know that they’re just rhinestones,glued to the body like a mask.
Shouting through a bullhorn how quiet and meek we are–
It’s one thing to wear the paint on our face, but to swallow it and swish it over your throat so it colors your words is a whole other.
We wear our remorse and regret on our sleeves, bracelets of slits and pocketknives,
Flashing every drop of sweat like a tiara for our adoring crowds, varying in numbers, to swoon over us in a massive wave of pity.
We stretch ourselves to the point that pity feels good and safe, until we are a flat line, buried in a flurry of mistakes like ill-advised tattoos.
When you’re that thin, of course you’ll get knocked over and forced on your knees with a breath of wind.
But doesn’t any impact feel good, better than none at all?

So, how far DOES a child stretch?
Far enough to feel as thin as they think they have to.
Far enough to feel some of that impact, too.
As far as we stretch ourselves.
As far as they can.



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