A Contract Set in Stone
Give me clay and set me free.
I’ll use my fingers.
I am GOD, shaping new species
Out of emotions.
They always take my form.
Maybe so I’ll care more, and not leave them in a corner to collect dust.
I know once I start it’s a commitment.
The clay knows my hands and knows me.
So I am responsible and ever-critical.
I always knew Creation came from Art.
A lovenote to all of mankind.
I think about you sometimes.
All the infinite you
out there in the world.
The ones that have done, do and will.
I wonder why I am capital, when
you and we are so much more important.
And why we are all called
human, all the same.
When I was young I thought it was our DNA,
How my hand fit with yours, and how your eyes looked the same.
I called us
homo sapiens. Thinking man.
I thought I found the definition of beautiful in how DNA related us to
every life, small, ancient, large, newborn.
But my belief in that pure unity by fact and science
was tainted when I learned. 99.9% holds us together, but
the 0.1% is all anyone notices.
All anyone can ever care about.
It’s the human condition.
It tears us apart, like trying to rip the colors out of a rainbow.
So I promised myself I’d
love blindly, then love the 0.1%
And I kept looking.
When I grew up, and glued my heart back together
the first time, I told myself it must be we are 7 billion,
But each of us feels alone.
We listen and cry. We can’t stand to sleep alone.
We all believe we are outcasts, because there is no incast.
I wondered if anyone else hugged themselves
until it hurt, because we managed to honestly believe
our heart might fall out and get lost.
There are so many, and they are so fragile and fragmented.
And I was sure it was true. It’s not how
our eyes look the same but how we give the same looks.
But it struck me how sad it was, that we are one because
we are all alone.
So I promised to never leave you to be alone, and never feel alone.
I could soothe myself by knowing
we felt together, but I kept my heart safe and strong.
And I kept looking.
When I fell down,
I looked up for happiness. What I found was a new way to feel you.
I realized we aren’t sad because
we are alone, but because we all look for happiness.
We search blindly, and tell ourselves
it’s just over the next hill.
But we can’t, I can’t, see the hill after the next one.
But that’s okay.
I believe it is.
Because that’s what makes us human.
We sing to the sky and want to be sung to.
We sleep so we can dream, and sometimes forget
because we must.
You move forward by chasing happiness, I do,
I call it humanity now.
And I love blindly, because I can’t see all of you,
but I feel you there. I feel you now.
You taste like I do. Your smell is so ancient.
So, I can love myself now, too, blindly.
And I am young, we all are. But I am happy, I am human.
Because I keep looking.
Have you ever thought about the last book you will ever read?
It should be familiar, from your childhood, an old friend,
If you get the choice.
Not too sad, but deep, enough
to make you realize and appreciate,
Like you did as a child,
The first time.
A character that inspired you,
that you silently crushed on as a teenager,
I think would be the perfect
We sometimes forget how brilliant thought is,
how much of a privilege it is.
I’d want to be reminded of that.
To fade away dreaming and
thinking about things,
A hopeful, bright-eyed, doe in headlights.
But I wouldn’t want to pretend I was still a lost
innocent child. I’d want to feel my
melancholy and joy, in turns.
To finally arrive at a point where
the good things
and bad things
sit in front of me in equal piles.
Maybe I’d read something about dying.
Take advice from someone who only exists in death,
who’s died millions of times, and is somehow
okay with it each time.
I want to be comfortable and sane,
but never numb. I’d want my last tears to be shed
over someone else, someone non-existent and
Someone and something so very shareable.
If I was simply struck
one day, and I couldn’t choose,
I don’t think I could ever live that down.
To have my last thoughts be insignificant
–what’s for dinner, or the work I have to do.
A book is a birthright, our strongest power.
I’d leave every piece of myself in a page.
Crumble and melt like a sweet pastry,
Until there is nothing left for death to take.
And I’d be gone and
eternal, and so very internal.
I could die and decompose and become a tree,
And paper and a book.
So I could have inky scriptures imbedded in me.
Have my spine and pages caressed.
Be cried on and laughed over.
I’d love to be written in, soak up that sweet sticky love and become unique.
I could be held and prized and cherished.
I’d want the last thing I read to be older than me,
With yellowed pages, and a sickly sweet smell, crumbling corners.
If the book could do it so could I,
grow old and be done, but ever-relevant.
I’d want to be buried with it, so we could be old friends rotting together.
It could summarize my life, give it meaning, and let it go.
And it would slip out of my hands, the thump
of landing on the floor, becoming
the last beat of my heart,
the small gust of wind,
my last stale breath.
The words would fall away from the world
as I did.
Rachel Mikofsky, Age 16, Grade 11, Hunter College High School, Gold Key