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And I guess I was never your guardian,
your sister but not your keeper.
I was just someone who’s been here
a little longer,
with demons of my own making,
demons that I prayed so hard
would never come to torment you,
demons I held at bay every time
I came in contact with you,
to shelter you,
so you could see in me
the beacon of illumination
that I was supposed to be.
You never knew it, but that
was one of my proudest parts.
Distancing myself from things
that made me ugly inside
so you could have someone
to look up to.
It seems self-defeating now,
burying all my guilty acts
like illicit treasures instead
of purging them, or at least
making peace with them
and holding them leashed
and subservient at my side.
I denied them with all my will,
just so I could stand in front of you
in that white uniform,
make the place I occupied
worthy of aspiration.
But I was never your guardian.
I was just someone whose path
ran the same way as yours
for a while. Just a coincidence,
really, that it was the better part
of your childhood.
It gave me the reason
to want to make better choices,
hold on to fiercer ideals, knowing
you were walking right next to me,
knowing you were watching
everything I did.
We touched spirits a few times,
my leathery, bullet-riddled one
put to shame by the pristine,
pliable one of yours.
But you never knew,
and that was what mattered.
As far as you could tell, I never faltered.
The walls of my house weren’t
papered with the dark, monstrous
patterns of my many failures.
I showed you instead what great things
faith and faithfulness could do.
And in your future that I believed in
more than mine, believed
more worth saving than mine,
I conjured a choir of angels who sang
louder than my demons seethed.
Maybe you saved me.
By being young, by being there.
And my adamant resolve
to never hurt you.
I was never your guardian.
The outcome of your own journey
was never in my hands.
And when life’s undertow ultimately
pulled you and me to different
shores as we knew it would,
and you found other company,
they didn’t take you from me.
Didn’t overtake me.
Didn’t undermine my influence.
Didn’t rob me of my life’s work when
they started showing you how to do
the very things I shielded you from.
Didn’t poison you.
Didn’t spoil you for me, or for anyone.
Didn’t derail the future I thought
I had secured for you.
This is your path, the life
of your choosing.
Your own innocence
to spend as you see fit.
Your own demons to create,
to live with, to fight.
Your own guilt
from the depths of which to pull
the antithesis of your own redemption.
I have done nothing for you.
I can do nothing for you.
I was never your guardian.
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bride-talking-to-bridesmaid-in-domestic-garden-by-caia-images
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“Bride talking to Bridesmaid in domestic garden” by Caia Images

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