To Parkland Youth

(Florida, USA)


I’ve worked with teenagers forever

So it seems

And I’m glad


I like precocity


The plain way teens tend to speak

Reminding me of why I like to walk

The streets of Pittsburgh, for

Pittsburgh people speak their minds with

Measures of respect with

Arrowed expression


And when I’m with youth, to say

Don’t forget to be fifteen,

Sensing some relief

All around


Being teen is good, and acting real is


There are things you don’t have to

Own because you’re not there,

And this is good


Which is not to put you down but to raise up

All the growth that


In delight, frustration, error, joy


You should be free to

Know what to leave and what

To take with you


Should not be a thing for you

That we can’t let you finish adolescence

And so enter

The rest of the world


You have to step in now

And you shouldn’t have to


You have to act as two generations

And there it is

And for all I like you

And because,

This is not right


C L Couch