when i was

[ alap ]
where were you!! — parent talk;

where were you when i needed you? — ask back,
after all these years. ask friends, parents, teachers.

obey them: be grateful we’re your friend. be grateful we
let you shop in our art store, go to our college, eat our food.

[ ghat ]

when you told me,
after i hated you — i didn’t hate you,
when you told me.

when you slapped me,
i was your child — i wasn’t yours,
when you slapped my face.

you said, dear friend whom i admired,
that i’d be better if i smoked dope —
you said so, but i didn’t hear it, but
i intuited that you meant i’d stop
crushing on you.

when i was an astronaut,
you pulled the plug — i couldn’t breathe,
you cut my air.

when i was a ghost,
you sometimes shivered — i didn’t want
to frighten you, just say hello.


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