The boy hid quietly in the back,
never raised his hand, got low grades
for lack of class participation. A shy,
quiet, introverted mama’s boy—
a child, it was his nature.
Adults criticized that he cried too easily.
He cared too much.
Felt too deeply. For a boy.
They would not let him be.
His siblings knew
and encouraged another side.
He learned to deny
his own deep-felt emotions.
Authority ran his life,
maybe his spirit.
He listened, learned, observed,
and grew; first, into a troubled teen, then
he became a young man.
Gradually, he moved
closer to the front, like a warrior
toward danger. Down range.
Today, an old man walks in and sits
front and center. Sharp tongued,
the quick-witted septuagenarian,
with a grin of secret wisdom,
is ready to advise any damn fool
playing games of authority.
Look both ways in the spirit of the young
and the eyes of the old.
Be careful what you wish for,
watch your step, and mind the gaps.
Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.