Poem 111 – Circular Identity

Remember childhood years that stretched
Where nothing seemed to change at all
Except our teeth. Remember how
They used to hang on fragile threads
Forever, wiggled by the tongue
Until one day they disappeared?

Eventually a switch was flicked
New genes asserted influence
A sudden surge, the teenage kick
With child and adult overlaid
Doubly exposed awhile before
The hormone shock shook out the child
A whiskey burn that makes us wince

A newborn person stands before
A mirror wondering ‘Who am I?
Where is the manual that informs
Us how to be a grown-up in
This strange and unfamiliar world?’
Until one day a match is made
Where each completes the other’s question

A few years on the subject shifts
A babe becomes its object as
We ask who it might take after
Ironic really as our process
Of metamorphosis has ended
The circle finally has closed
And we’ve become our parents and
The children’s teeth are getting loose

Nature or nurture?

© Ben Quant 2022

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