It happens, you know, people run out of give And then they run out of time. Writers run out of new things to say Or new ways to say the old things. Your heart stagnates in your mind. When failing time comes It’s always the first thing to yield. At seventeen you make a willful child Stubborn as sin and vicious with youth. Eighteen makes you blue as Monday Stuck fast to a beginning And not liking where you have to go. Nineteen tries to teach the point of patience. It doesn’t quite fail but it doesn’t quite win. At twenty you build a burning bush And stoke the flames Angry as an old testament God. By twenty-one the worst is over And the waiting has come, Penance for emotional arson, A lifetime of penitence on skinned knees. Eventually the water around you festers, tastes like bile and grit-thick mud. Eventually your body begins to wonder Why instinct makes it try to go on But it does and though you don’t say no you keep on picking at the why like a hangnail. And it harms none, except maybe yourself, So you do as you will And the world lets you do your thing. People, they don’t tell you what they want, But they make sure as hell you pay repentance For the things you didn’t understand Or the times you failed to read between the lines. You’re left wondering if there was some manual That you were supposed to get at birth that the hospital neglected to give you Or alternatively If someone forgot to install a part.