New Poem: “the youth i never had keeps haunting me”

the youth i never had keeps haunting me –
it taunts me in the face of younger women –
that which i never was, and cannot be again –
the youth i never had plays out instead
in endless loop within my head –

their eyes when they don’t understand my words –
no, i did not have your opportunities
and no, i do not share in your experience –
i did not have the means to travel anywhere
nor any hope of jobs or education –
i had my pride, however sullied over time,
and dug through grime by my sheer force of will –

i cannot talk to you about your party,
your friends and hopeful plans you lay together –
i only recently could plan at all –
the future still a new concept to me –

not long ago i struggled to find food,
a roof above my head and one more day to live –
you can’t imagine what i did to get that –
no goodness, beauty, happiness or hope was left –
and you will never know how good a life you have,
that’s why you’re always so unsatisfied –

the youth i never had keeps haunting me –
it taunts me when i think of family –
that privilege of roots i never had,
community of which i never was a part –
my eyes may always ever be as shifty
as when they watched my mother’s every move
intent on disappearing at the slightest change of mood –

i cannot talk to you about your dreams of fame –
i long since gave up every hope i had of anything –
it would have been a thrill to have my family know my name
but even that hope disappeared in time –

the youth i never had keeps haunting me –
all the things i wanted, but never had the chance to do –
all the things you have that i could only dream of –
and all the things you feel entitled to,
take for granted, disregard – as if to mock me –

you think the world is good, from your pedestal of youth –
i wonder what the view is like from up there –
a view i never got to see and never will –
the youth i never had keeps haunting me
and taunting me through you and everything you do –

Published By: K-M Skalkenæs

Danish poet, writer and painter. Writings include her own original poetry in English and Danish, and translations of poetry from the Scandinavian languages and German into English.

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