Seventeen

She was thirteen when she first felt
That she could change the world.
Seventeen, when she stopped dreaming.
Eighteen, when the fire on her cigarette
Burned brighter than the fire inside her.
She wrote down her dreams
On small pieces of paper,
Made even smaller paper boats out of them,
And instead of sailing them in water puddles,
She buried them in her backyard,
Hoping that one day,
A tree would grow there,
Whose leaves won’t turn brown,
When it turned seventeen.

 

She was twenty-one when her eyes last laughed,
Twenty-three, when even the fake smile faded,
And she was ready to give up.
Twenty-four when she met him,
A man on the verge of giving up, himself.
They used to sit in her backyard,
Holding hands,
Talking about the paper boats that never sailed,
And the tree that never grew,
Let alone turn seventeen.

 

She was twenty-seven when
She fell in love with him.
Twenty-nine, when she fell out of love.
Thirty, when she realized that nothing lasts forever,
And every forever that fails to last forever,
Takes away a part of her heart with it.

 

She was thirty-two,
When after numerous attempts at creating forevers
With numerous different persons,
She finally thought she had met the right one.
Thirty-three, when she found her long lost laughter back.
Thirty-four when she became certain
That this was the forever she had been looking for, all her life.
And she was finally hopeful,
That a tree might grow in her backyard,
Where the paper boats were still buried.

She was thirty-six,
When she finally felt the sapling growing,
Not in her backyard, but inside her.
Thirty-eight, when she first heard
Those little lips whisper, “Maa.”
Though the paper boats never sailed,
The tree was finally growing,
And she was determined to
Not let its leaves turn brown
When it turned seventeen,
Or twenty-one,
Or thirty.
She was determined to
Not let the leaves turn brown, ever.

 

She was fifty-four when the plant turned seventeen,
Fifty-eight, when it turned twenty one,
Sixty-seven, when it turned thirty,
And was blooming with flowers.
And as she had promised to herself,
She hadn’t let a single leaf turn brown.


 

 


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