My shoulders are heavy with my habit,
Handed down to me by strangers:
A shirking silence that,
In defiance of gravity,
Seeks to rest my arms around my ears.
For so long these limbs have rested by my side,
To not impede the songs of my neighbors,
Flying out from their smiling projectors,
Like a songbird caged no more.
And I believed I was happy,
Surrounded by a flock of familiarity –
How could I be anything but?
The answer, it seems,
Came from the transition in hearing to listening,
When I awoke, it was to a jarring wail,
Full of a sadness that did not only echo through me,
But finally settled, nested, deep in my soul,
With talons wrapped around my heart,
Clenching and relaxing to the beat of the dirge.
It wasn’t until I looked down,
To see the bird on my breast,
That I recognized the smile-turned-smirk caught in his beak –
This wasn’t a new requiem imported from far-away,
Just the same chorus I have heard since I can remember,
With lyrics untouched by the winds of time:
The difference was me.
Do you remember what you promised me,
So long ago,
When our hearts were larger, eyes wider,
When the days were so much longer?
You told me that people never change,
And we die as we’re born –
But now I’m broken,
And I can’t help but wonder,
Was I mistaken,
Or just a mistake?