When I was young,

I heard the song of a caged blackbird singing,

I heard happiness and vitality in his voice,

like he was proud to have seen this year’s spring.

What I didn’t realize at the time

was that the blackbird song was not a song,

but an anthem of his misery,


for being confined in a shrinking jail,

repeating itself like a broken record player.

Unlike the bird, my cage was open and

my wings could unfurl, carrying me

to San Francisco, where I could

walk across the golden gate bridge,

to Tibet, where I could


climb Mt. Everest,

careful not to exert myself

because deep down I am frail.

My hands shake, my voice staggers

you could measure my self confidence

in the spoon-full of sugar I mix

into my morning coffee.


But if you give me a chance,

I will try my hardest to do my best,

and if it takes me a few tries,

it’s because I'm a spider,

carefully weaving a home between two branches.

When I have a daughter,

I’ll take pictures of her laughing


so that she can look back at the moments

when she forgot time existed

because when life slaps her in the face

I won’t always be there to hold her,

to make her favorite dinner that night.

She’ll come out with bruises on her hands,

too small to hold so much weight.


But I know she can survive with a smile,

which is why I want to be her inspiration

and keep getting back up

so she can look up at the sky

and smile

when she hears

the free blackbird singing.

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