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Stage Age 17

what do we
with this little girl we look back upon?
she is standing there, tiny fists clenched and waving,
and I just don't know whether
to pat her proud little cheeks
or to try to teach her
what it will mean to be arrogant
without being beautiful.
I don't know how to explain
that when her beauty comes she will have learned
to be without it,
and her face matters less as her mouth matters more.
do I give her a blueprint,
a fifteen year horoscope reading,
try to steer her
from the mistakes she's destined to make?
I think I will just
pat her on the head,
release her
to run around in her own chaos,
and say
you will learn.

3 February 2003