The following poem appeared in the April 5,2021 issue of the New Yorker. This poem gives us pause and allows us to press the brake pedal and have a look in the rear view mirror of time. As parents, we often reflect on our own experiences and consider what kind of future we want for our kids.
I’m thinking of you beautiful
and young, of me young
and confused and maybe
beautiful. There were lots of us—
these were our twenties, when,
post-9/11, we were about to
inherit the world, and we had no idea
what to do with it. And look
what we did, and we didn’t.
And now look at us, and it.
We turned away for a blip, started
whispering, kissing, had kids,
bought houses, changed bulbs,
submitted claims, changed channels,
FaceTimed, streamed, upgraded,
were two-day-shipped to, and midway
through our prime earning years
we look up again, decades groggy,
decades late. Forgive us, we thought—
but now it doesn’t matter. These are our
outcomes, consequences, faults,
forties, when the hourglass
is beeping and bleak and people
like us have memories like this
and wonder if the beauty that’s left
is really still beautiful, if it was.