growing up

my childhood is no more
a strange pill to swallow, but it is a pill nonetheless 
and i can only stare at it, tucked into my palms
i am not afraid of growing up, please do not get me wrong
however; i am still feeling waves and ocean tides
of what feels like regret and anger
it creeps up the shore and swallows my feet, cold and wet, 
reminds me that it’s over

it is over.

it’s too late to yearn for a father figure, it is too late to reconcile with
my mother as child and mom
it is too late to sit on my favorite carpet, criss-cross apple-sauce, because the ABC’s embroidered onto it
are no longer that of a mystery to me
it is too late to admire the multiplication chart
stapled against the walls, 
sitting perfectly beside my teacher’s king and worn desk
it is too late to cry over papercuts and knee scrapes
it is too late to use my fingers to count
it is too late to wonder, too late to stay up
long nights and yearn for bedtime kisses
it is too late to dream

i want to be a child again; to reverse time and relive it
over and over again just to make up for what i didn’t have
to give myself what i couldn’t have,
like feeding candies secretly to a child 
beneath the foggy table cloth, 
snickering silently in soft and naive glee
i want someone to push me on the swings,
i want someone to carry me inside
after a long road trip as i sleep in their warm arms
i want my elementary school friends, encouraging me to join them in the many imaginative games that only children could make up
i want to go back and be happy again

but superpowers don’t exist, and i’m not a child anymore.
i am an adult, not a toddler needing to learn
how to take its first steps
my tumbles are no longer because i'm unused to my feet
but instead my fault in that
i didn’t stand properly, like an adult should
there it is, creeping around my ankles again,
reminding me of the pill in my palms
it stares up at me and i gulp, lips pursed

i am not afraid of growing up
i am not afraid of becoming older
i am not afraid of my childhood ending

and yet, i cannot swallow this truth without gagging and choking
please, please believe me
i am not afraid

--Leonna T., Adult