The impulsive change is its own verse—

reveals more than than I ever intended.

With the children, my words are terse,

but they’ve found that I am defenseless.

A child, like them, in so many ways,

curling my hair and fixating on the mirror.

They know the dread in each day

the message louder and clearer.

I let the heater blow on my face,

run the tub and put off work.

They know that happiness is just a race,

run just as fast by a checkout clerk.

That, I’ve yet to learn, and I bury my head,

I hand out my tests and surveys,

In five years, they say, they’ll be dead.

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