To whom it may concern
by Mark Dvorak
When I was young
they said I was too young.
“He’s got potential,” they said.
“If he’d only work harder,” they said.
“He’ll never make it,” they said.
“I hope he can stay with it.”
When I became older
they said I was too old.
“He’s kept at it,” they said.
“He’s got passion,” they said.
“He should get an award,” they said.
“Is he still doing this?”
To whom it may concern:
I never cared for an instant
what you thought I should be doing
or should have done.
Not for an instant.
I do not care who you think I am.
I’ve been to your schools
and have read your newspapers.
I have heard your songs.
Like you, things come at me now;
through a screen and sometimes
through a fractured memory.
And sometimes it hits pretty hard
and throws me for a dozen loops, too.
And guess what?
The thing you judged
is but a flash
and a glimpse of something
you and I have shared
Though years and brokenness
have delivered each of us here,
our children are brilliant
and we have much.
You cannot hold a mirage
in your hands.
What is this thing our mothers have given?
And this thing our fathers have taught?
The war doesn’t end, does it?
What is it we have been bequeathed
from those unnamed
whose secrets we still hold close,
while sunset announces golden
its pure intention.
Were it up to me I would tell you.
But because of who I have become
and because of whom you have perceived,
I point again to the sky,
and to the shimmering leaves in autumn.
I point again to the ripples on the river
and to all that is unfair.
These I know:
There is much worth in laughing.
Smile like a child.