Sunday, May 29, 2022

To My Seventeen-Year-Old Self by Edward Hirsch

To My Seventeen-Year-Old Self
Your friends are sniffing glue
from a paper bag
in the back of an Impala
tooling around Niles
and Morton Grove
looking for something
to escape
whatever boredom
or childhood damage
everyone suffers,
but don’t get high
with them
in a sputtering car
that your girlfriend
refuses to enter,
don’t lie to her
after she moves away
and lie down with her friend,
don’t sob in the locker room
after the game
or lose your mind
from repeated blows
to the head
on the football field
at Niles West High School,
I mean whatever locker
you hit or don’t hit
in desperation
born of the suburbs,
just stand and wait
for the unexpected night
when poetry climbs through
the unlocked window
in the basement
of the split-level house
on Sherwin Avenue
and sits down at your desk.

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