youth

when I think about the way that my language has deteriorated
how the vocabulary I work with is no longer strong
how I pause, how I speak
slowly
or sharply
how it’s hard to read into my words
truth
or merit

it’s difficult to keep using words

I remind myself that regardless of the skill,
there is no one who hasn’t experienced losing it

I was a better runner when I was younger
I was a better singer when I was younger
I was a better wordsmith when I was younger

but what I have lost in speed, I make up in endurance
I can run ten miles at dawn, ten at night
instead of winning a race made up
on just the straight side of a track

women’s voices are said to develop until their thirties
and mine has been cornered into all abilities
contralto, soprano, the mezzo and the tenor
I have the knowledge of control now

my words are still less than I would like

I struggle to make myself understood now

but I also see that now I care about understanding
I’m not caught in the bleak, persistent stubbornness
that takes hold of you when you don’t know better

all those who haven’t matured
historically take more sides aligned with an extreme

they see the rightness of their choice
they see the wrongness of the alternative

and people struggle to see anything as nonbinary

and at least I know
that I can

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