Legacy, part 1: Guardian

by Richard Vince

Some days, it is as though I know you,
Even though there was never a you
To know. In my mind, I picture you
Invisibly: you cannot be discerned,
Even by my mind’s eye, but I know
It is you.

Perhaps you sit upon my shoulder,
Like a conscience given fleeting form,
A part of me that is somehow separate,
Reminding me of thoughts I never had.

Had you existed, you would never have
Known the whole me: you would have seen
The shell that once contained me
As it became ever more hollow,
Ever closer to implosion as it began to
Fail to protect the vacuum inside
From external pressures.

You would have grown into disappointment,
Into exasperation, as I shrank from being
The person you needed me to be into
An inadequate substitute, a mere
Placeholder in your life, someone
You had to explain away.

How could I have been strong enough
To hold you, to protect you, to lift you up,
When the strength even to think of you
Has taken so many years to summon?


Posted on 08/05/2017
Copyright © 2022 Richard Vince

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by George Hoerner on 08/14/17 at 06:08 PM

I have just the opposite problem. I've thought about this woman, 18 or 19 when we were Friday night movie dates for a while. I'm not sure I was anything but that to her. Though we both went separate ways and now live 6000 miles apart we still exchange rather mundane emails from time to time.

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