You saw me graduate high school – standing on that stage
more stone than human, ancient
invincible and undying.
Thank you for teaching me immortality is a feeling,
not a state of being.
Then my first semester of college when I realized
the best learning doesn’t happen at desks, wooden and square –
but on the floor, dirty dorm room carpet,
sitting cross-legged with your friends
debating the existence of God.
Thank you for teaching me to listen more than I speak
and to give more love than I take.
In your waters I lost a friendship –
watched it succumb like a sandcastle
to the foaming mouth of a rabid sea.
Thank you for teaching me some things
stand at a distance but dissolve
at the first touch of closeness.
Through your eyes I saw a larger world
so thank you for Paris and stolen sunflowers
and my first time on an airplane.
Thank you for fresh pain and books
and the chance to work with a literary magazine
and play in a string quartet
and for winning the “most likely to write a
best-selling novel” senior superlative
and for a new short story collection by Neil Gaiman
and discovering the band Twenty One Pilots
and for prom and a wedding and a new cousin
and an eighteenth birthday.
Thanks for all of it, even the bad parts.
Thank you for every new feeling.