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POEM: To Life

Updated: Dec 2, 2019

by KATHRYN MICK - Feb. 2, 2019

it’s a tuesday night and i’m lying on the floor of my bedroom,

thinking about what gives Life meaning

me, thinking about what gives Life meaningー

me, the girl who color codes her closet

and annotates the unnecessary

and fills in the bubbles out of obligation

to a lifestyle she doesn’t remember committing to

but is now somehow a slave toー


oh, Life!

how am i to define you

when i am just beginning to understand you?

it’s the second trimester of senior year

and my inbox is bursting with advice i didn’t ask for

from colleges i didn’t share my information with

i don’t understand you and i don’t know why they think i should

i’m only 17

i got a flat tire in March and drove on it for miles

totally aware of the danger, but going too fast to stop and put the spare on

afraid of being tardy

afraid of confronting something adult-ish

i don’t understand you and i’m hesitant about getting acquainted

i want to be a teacher

and my mom asked if i’d be willing to give my Life

to protect my students one day

ーa job description i’m scared to take on--

and when i hesitated, i felt like a bad person

some days, the grief is paralyzing

the body count is getting higher

the apathy is getting violent

i don’t understand you and i don’t think i want to

but i don’t like saying “i don’t”

and i won’t live in fear of you

i want to be an inspiration

and when i overheard my younger sister telling her friends on facetime

how much she loves spending time with me

i realized how much of an impact our sister-sister date to steak ‘n shake had on her

i don’t understand you, Life, but i like these moments

i have a lot of empathy

and my body tolerates a couple sleepless nights every now and then

but it was when i stayed up with my best friend to talk her off a ledge

that i saw my role in this universe as purposeful, not coincidental,

and that by extending love, i make a difference

i don’t understand you, but maybe i’m beginning to

maybe i should stop trying to find finite answers to infinite questions

and start seeing the unknown as an invitation to explore

i could count the stars before i could contemplate the meaning of Life

and where it comes from

but maybe that means that i should spend my time counting stars

and let the meaning of Life come to me when it is time for me to understand

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