Richard Gold


         YOU ARE



You are at the beach

on vacation, taking a stroll,

and the water is sparkling in the way it does, very green,

and accompanying you on your walk,

rather unexpectedly,

is the shadow of yourself dancing,

maybe from the nightclub on this vacation

or another,

a happy shadow, considering it’s yours.

And with you also are other shadows, lurking,

the mechanic who overcharged you,

your boss who critiqued your work unfairly,

the lost shoe, the neighbor’s dog.


Then the dancing shadow

comes up to you from behind

and touches you lightly.

Who are you now?



You are a youth at the beach

and life is filled with hope

and barely containable energy

for one minute,

as you think about putting your arm around

the person lying next to you,

though suddenly

you think about the other people

in that person’s life,

the competition for your future,

the confusion every day

when you step outside your parents’ door.


Then your companion touches you lightly.

Who are you now?



You are a baby playing in the sand

and splashing in the water,

so light that if you could think

beyond the moment

you’d worry that the salty breeze

would pick you up and carry you into the sky,


But inside you is already the kernel

of a burden,

of your parents and their parents

and those who came before,

breaking people like breaking waves,

beaten and beating,

and the frustrations of your life

that will take on greater and greater significance

as if they will grind your bones

and break your heart,

leaving you deadened

and alone,

an ultimate loneliness.


Then someone touches you lightly

with the message that the pain you feel

is not your fault.


Who are you now?

Tulúm, Mexico


Copyright © 2002 Richard Gold.  All Rights Reserved.

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