I’m not particularly afflicted with altruism.

I’m mostly self-absorbed;

A picky sponge greedily saturated

with my own feelings and existence.

When others leak their emotions near me

I harden and shrink from the contamination.


You see, as a child,

I was drenched in the perceptions and pain of others.

So full was I of you or he or them

there wasn’t a pore I could reserve for me.

I didn’t realize I had the choice

to reject participating in

another being’s emotional experience.


When I grew up

I learned things.

I dried out.

Then each drippity drop of

of my own conscious thought became precious.

I erected unrepentant boundaries,

Stringently guarded, violently enforced.


Raised in a world of black and white,

at first I vacillate between extremes.

A curious pendulum of consciousness am I;

Wide arcs decreased by degrees of wisdom,

Pendant pulled still by the gravity of time.

I mostly inhabit the middle now until

fear or discomfort gives me a push.


It’s difficult to be something

between impermeable and an open border.

I still err towards self-preservation.

Though the door between us rests shut,

If you dare to knock,

I will always answer.


HS 10.17.2016


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