LIFE'S PREREQUISITE

you were always my only star-swallower,
always snatching at dreams and clutching at straws.
you were always my red-faced boy, running,
with a tell-tale, tattle-tale grin.

but now your smiles have withered,
weathered like battered copper pipes,
and set your heart to shrivel
into a coal-colored mound of regret.

(i pick this up and toss it feebly,
and it dances like a blue-tipped flame)

your eyes are burning with pessimism
and brimming with realism.

...and i think you're ready, now.