The Innocence of Youth

Ah, to return to the innocence of youth!

We were happy then, my sister and I,
we were princesses in shiny-sequin
skirts.  Our feet swam in our aunt’s
old fuchsia heels, back in
the innocence of youth.

We had a tea party, my little sister
and I, with lemonade and goldfish.
She was the guest, I the hostess, and
she wouldn’t behave like a proper
lady, so I yelled and our party
ended.

We went to school, my sister after
me, back in the innocence of youth.
She wanted to play, but the hours of
homework ate me up until I couldn’t
handle her begging and threw a pen
at her.

We were home alone, my sister.
Me, short tempered from hunger and
loneliness.  She burnt the breakfast
and I yelled she was useless because
of her clumsiness.

Then she grew up and moved away.

Time brought us back, my sister and me.
Hard talks helped us reconcile, but
now every breath has me scared
to speak, scared to unleash the villain
in me, the monster I nourished in
the innocence of youth.

We’re friends again, my sister and I,
we eat ice cream and go to movies
and all the while I catch the words
before they leave my mouth,
but sometimes in her eyes I still see
the ruined tea party,
the thrown pen,
the curse of worthlessness,
and I can’t change the past,

but maybe someday we’ll be free from
the innocence of youth.

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