“You thought you were done with this didn’t you?”

You think as you pull yourself off the icy road

and hobble into your dorm

On the eve of your 19th birthday

Pull out the hydrogen peroxide

and watch it sizzle on your knee

Somehow closer to nine than nineteen


The child in you has always sat close to the surface

Blood, ready to ooze out of a fresh wound

You’ll remember this later


When you grin

At the off-key rendition

of the birthday song

Even a year into adulthood

You still need them to sing

Still need the ice cream,

although now it’s dairy free

Still need to wear your pajamas,

although now they’re a hoodie and leggings

Still need the world


To tell you how much it loves you

Still love it back

and even when you fall

Onto the cold, unforgiving ground

You stand back up

And assess the scrape

Remedy Ryan ’21 (remedyryan@college.harvard.edu) just turned nineteen.