I make a pact with my younger other self,
my familiar in the crosswalk,
the boy staring back
not longing to be me,
wondering where all that nice black hair went
in our shadowed time
and unwanted trusts,
vows not to be our parents
and just our mirrored selves.
In spite of me/to spite me
he will just go on.
I will be good despite him-
four feet in height, four feet of space,
the railing between us.
He’ll spit on me,
shout “Fuck you,”
pulling off Dad’s coat
from years of past
and what comes next.
I’ll love him,
hold his tantrum closely,
tell him this is not his story or mine
or mom’s or dad’s, but all of ours
for better or worse, indivisible.
Soon he will understand we live
not in a house but past houses
picking dog hair off each other
in an inheritance of
misery and joy, total love and hate.
I can only grant you this pact,
watch you winter taller, repulsed,
the last of your long hair pinned back,
your black tie un-noosed around you,
rage shocked to stillness,
heart stone tugging you inward,
until we meet in a room of a city
you know the least and I the most
but shared enough to call home.
The pact we must all make between our oldest memories of ourselves and the selves we are today.