17 is a big number for me. 2017 was my year of 17. 17 years of Seattle (where I moved when I was 17).
I found myself scribbling this poem/story on a drawing I was making this year in a moment of real angst and change. A few days ago, I found it unfinished, and the last few stanzas just came clipping along and put themselves on the page. The end would have been a surprise to the me that started the writing. I think that this, as rhymey and juvenile as it may be, happens to encapsulate the core pieces of my learning for the last 17 years, the first 17 years of my adult life.
Tiny in space and time | aching for rest but longing to climb | I refuse to believe | the distance impossible for me.
Scaling crags, dodging boulders | though some I pile on my shoulders | Others bruise me rolling down | My Enemy wants me in the ground.
All around a darkness grows | Air on my skin brushes cold | Every wound hotter stings | and I detect the beat of wings.
I fear a vulture.
"Oh! How can I onward move? | Oh! My Love! I want to prove | I deserve all I've been given | Can't I pay for one nail driven?
"Surely I can carry this! | Give me something I can fix! | Of course I'll give you all the glory | But can't we say that it's my story?"
Then the quake knocks me around | I'm dying again from falling down | Right before I cease to be | In his claws he catches me.
Oh! These talons! They're familiar | Grand and rough, but they don't sever | Rather, gently deliver me | Back to the nest I tried to flee.
No scolding comes; no harsh word spoken | Just warmth and strength covering broken | Why a weakling does he keep? | I need not know and go to sleep.
(And now: that thing where you realize your very real, spiritually honest stanzas are some kind of weird retelling of Are You My Mother? !!! :)
And my current favorite song about (remembering) being 17: