The Instructions

Above: I read the poem aloud.

The Instructions

Before age four

every child in my nation

is told clearly

the meaning of life.

You see,

the long-gone who birthed us

our master physiques (with our tool-making thumbs,

and our bipedal feet,)

secured also the key

that is stitched

in our mouths

before we even start

eating or grow in

our teeth.

Like little hands clumsy

little minds cannot grasp

the questions they’ll

face when they’re old:

What

am I

to do

here

with my life?

and

How

go about it?

and

Why?

What a shame,

by the time

we reach these

confusions, we forget

they’re long-ago

given solutions.

They are common strings

threading through

every upbringing, on which

our ancestors strum

the songs of our singing:

Row

Row

Row your boat gently

down the stream.

These are the instructions.