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the doctors told my mother
i needed to take Ritalin.
the boy was born with restless legs
and thoughts that ran a million
miles per second.

my mother, she rejected
all their counsel,
she was grieving ,
needing every ounce of Steven
to distract her.

i could have been a doctor,
or maybe an actor,
maybe a lawyer
or a science boy.
could have been the president
off the medicine.

could have grown up with thoughts like:
“mermermer and blahblahblah,”
and laughed at all the right times.
wouldn’t be such a mess
on the in and outside.

maybe i’d be in therapy,
talk about my father
instead of writing poetry.

i’d do all the doctor visits,
and i would trust the system,
find and label all my problems,
pop some pills just to solve ’em.

oh my god, i could have had thoughts
that sound just like the tv news:
“mermermer and blahblahblah,”
and watched as all your pupils grew.

who would knew
who would know
how i’d be
how i’d grow.

the doctors told my mother
i needed to take Ritalin,
but ma-ma-ma-ma-mama knows best,
i’ll stay a pyramid.
the tip is what i could be,
the bottom is where i have been,
the crawl is what i live for,
i’ll never be a has-been.

i have been looking forward,
my legs, they bring me elsewhere,
i’ve learned to love the beauty
of trading time for self-care.

i’ve learned the value of distraction,
it saved my mother’s life.
my legs continue shaking,
don’t think about it twice.
i think about it ten times,
distracted by the third.

the doctors told my mother:
“blahblahblah and mermermer.”

©Steven Cuenca


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