All Our Baby Poems

I stumbled in.
All the blackened words framed the shattered room.
In each corner stood a poem,
Complete with bending legs,
Uplifting arches,
Smooth consonants
And delicate, carefully placed vowels.
But they all looked the same.

I struggled back
Angry at myself,
Unable to leave,
Unable to stop looking.

I tugged on my own poem,
Lugging it into the dark place,
Dropping it with a tell-tale clang
Onto the burnt paper floor.

I glared at the five poems.
There was no mystery here,
No quiet, frank uniqueness,
Just paper walls caked with words
And mechanical poems
Birthed from the tubes of the masses,
Pressed through the same careful selection process,
Fed with the same desires and emotions.

I left.
I didn’t take my poem.
I wanted only purity and I found none.

I did not realize until years later,
When I once more dared to enter that room,
Dared to carry in my little poem
Squalling, as it was, in my arms
That I had seen wrongly.

I had seen sameness
And I had cursed it a crime.

I had seen burnt and blackened words
And I had named the fire a grief.

I did not realize that all was alike
Because we are all, as humans, alike.
I did not see that the fire
Was the flame of passion,
Of purity,
Of unique sameness that fuels humanity.

The End

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