by Dean Blehert

You say you haven’t achieved much. I say
you are a hero, for whenever you cried,
“I can!” and surged to the jolting end
of a 1-inch tether and screamed “I CAN!”
and jerked forward another half inch
to collide with a wall of air and gasped
“I can. . .I think I can” and agonized
another quarter of an inch and called yourself
a failure and gave up — you didn’t know
you were dragging behind you a mountain
of “I CAN’T”, that each time you cried
“I will love”, “I will create” or “I will
give” — Himalayas of “I must not love”,
“I can’t create” and “To survive,
I must hold on to everything” and
“What’s the use anyway” dragged their
deep-rooted heels behind you.

You cannot see these mountains of ancient
decisions, not because they are old —
no older than the light-year-spanning
lucidity of a clear night.
It is the intervening haze of pain
that blues those massive peaks
to invisibility. If you could face that pain,
see through it to the loads you drag,
then, because they are made up only of your own
decisions, solidified by eons of effort,
they would vanish in the time it takes
to change your mind — when it IS your mind —
the chains of reasons that linked you to them
falling away in ringing laughter.

When next you whispered, “I think perhaps I can”
and took a baby step forward, like an astronaut
first stepping onto a low-gravity moon, you’d
glide 10 yards, and when you leapt,
you would amaze the world, far beneath you.

Meanwhile, until you have learned to unravel
mountains, even slow retreat is heroic,
and each quarter-inch advance
is epic victory.