Swings, Church and Shoes by Nikita Jayaprakash Swings A man sits down on the cold seat of the swing and pushes his legs, So deep in thought that his momentum was halfhearted, He doesn’t have much time left, he’s well past the age of naivety, But he wants to begin his end where it all started. He had forgotten the simple pleasure of moving but going nowhere, But he reminds himself of the simple joy from before he grew old, Even though his shoes weren’t made for the stubborn mud, And his clothes weren’t made for the wind nor the cold. He pushes harder, and as his muscles remember how to gain altitude, He remembers when he was just a kid, with a swing set all alone, When he didn’t have the heart to lie nor the reasons to cry, When he wasn’t worried about his life’s summary being engraved in stone. But then real life took over, he moved out and moved on, And he left this bliss behind as he drove away in a U-Haul, And just like the graffiti that stained his childhood playground, He now knew that the writing was blatantly on the wall. Church He makes another journey down the aisle, except with no one at the end, He creaks the door open, takes a deep breath, and walks there again, Avoiding eye contact with the reflections in the shattered glass, Because a reflection might bear his soul without a conscience. It’s much too late to right all of his wrongs, fix all of his mistakes All the confession stalls are locked, overflowing with too much sin, Because he’s faked so many apologies that he wishes he could redo, Because admitting the fact didn’t mean that he was forgiven. The windows watch him stiffly, ghosts sitting in the pews, The place where he was taught, in unrealistic simplicity, wrong from right, The splinters on the floor flattening under his worn soles, The place where he was taught to always follow the light. Now he wonders if he really wanted to be blinded by the light, That patronizing light that should have guided him in every endeavor, A man should take pain with only a grimace, pain is a sign that he’s alive, So, if he suffered below, wouldn’t he live forever? Shoes He stands in the road, all alone in his best suit, A street lined with apartments where time has ceased to move, An unspectacular image in black and white, He pretends that the road is covered in shoes. A thousand shoes scattered about, a thousand people he’ll never be, But the fewer shoes there are, the fewer people that came through, A thousand pathways he’ll never walk, a thousand footprints that he’ll never leave, He hopes he’s lucky enough to be the very first shoe. The man straightens his waistcoat, he checks his watch, He doesn’t have much longer, so he walks forward with age’s grace, He walks to where the shoes grew fewer and fewer, Because he wants to be the first and last footprint in this place. After he’s gone, no one would dare to move a dead man’s shoe, Lest his ghost should still be wandering these streets, So he’ll take off his shoes, sit down and finally rest, Until a softer ground hopefully meets his sock-covered feet.
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Nikita Jayaprakash is a high school senior, and current Teen Poet Laureate of Pleasanton, California, who writes to share the excessive thoughts in her head. She has been writing since she was seven, and she loves every aspect of literature: she reads in her spare time, writes at the most inopportune moments and has a penchant for writing her favorite lines in calligraphy.