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Taking First Steps
The first step was the longest.
I drove home for three hours through darkening cornfields.
The CD player on repeat.
The wood crosses of utility poles marking
Time like a metronome.
The first step was the hardest.
I arrived too soon. Delay was no longer an option.
The time from car to living room is lost.
But, there I sat -- and you, first happy at the surprise visit,
Then darkening when the reasons become clear.
The first step was the loneliest.
Growing up too fast and too late.
Ideas that wouldn't resolve -- family as foe,
Comforts gone. The personal now political --
Complexities receding beneath the need for defense.
The first step was opening,
The unveiling of the understudy,
Not ready, but talking himself
Into taking a few shuffling steps onto the stage.
The rehearsed lines like marbles in his mouth.
The first step was the beginning
Of uncertainty, yes, but also of the self,
And of its slow uncovering,
The discovery of things ugly and things good --
But both better for the open air and light.
The first step was the quickening
Of discovery, of the pleasures of shedding
The woody husk, of bending like a green reed in a flood --
Knowing that, always, the waters find their way itno the soil
And carry their clouded richness to the roots.