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the oceans we knew and the jewelry we have

We saw it coming
from far off
We were aware of
this wave from nowhere
We did nothing to stop it
And don’t you think for a
moment that I didn’t want to
I was patiently waiting for
your cue
It never came

Breaking slowly over us
the tide of our own remorse
We drank it in greedily
Mouths opened wide like
Young fledglings we were
We were not ready for this life
These duties

should have turned in our badges
At the first sign of trouble
But we held them like
Easy and fulfilling are not
Hardness like fire-scorched
Steel or diamonds –
Herein lies fulfillment

Yet we settled for nickel and
dime store mood rings
As though we could compass our way
through life based
on the color of a stone
on our right middle fingers

When you rely on body heat
to make your most important decisions
Your answers become arbitrary
and mood rings are unreliable when
you’re already
dead inside anyway
Think about it

And next time you wash
the remnants of the day
from your hands, try to
leave the little green circle
around your right middle finger
It’s all we have left

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