“You Do Not Have To Be The Moon,” by Emrys Foster

You Do Not Have To Be The Moon

You do not have to be the moon.
You do not have to follow the sun
always in its footsteps
you do not have to take fleeting breaths of cold clear nothing
through deep craters like gills
you do not have to shed a light on those below
you do not have to illuminate the sleeping world
and silent, never close your eyes.

You do not have to be the ocean.
You do not have to follow helplessly
the pull of the moon
you do not have to let the tides control you
you do not have to rage, nor destroy
nor nurture
you do not have to bear the weight of a thousand ships
and watch them as they sink.

You do not have to be the world.
You do not have to spin along your orbit
following the path of years and years before
you do not have to leave the days behind
you do not have to touch the lives of all who live;
you do not have to watch them die.


Emrys Foster, 2016 Seattle Youth Poet Ambassador, wrote this poem while a student at The Center School. They read their poem at Stephanie Burt, who opened our 2017/18 Poetry Series at McCaw Hall on Monday, October 9th.

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