May the Glad Inherit

by Mathew Paust

They have at birth wings of the glad,

before they understand they're born to die

before they've found a god or learned denial to ease them on the way

they're bubbly babes who trust their moms if not, as well, their fathers--

their cries are healthy cries, relishing comfort and love and such--

they'd rather warble, praising wonders, than simply screech

All creatures know death at their very core, a tacit default--

and instinct, of innocents of the fruit of Knowledge, leads them undespairing

all the way

but comprehension brings a whole new game of espy and deny--

the accelerating recognition of signs ever encroaching on

deceptive routes of escape

The deep-sleep ogre that flees a dream-shouted BOO! returns by day

in smug authority dress, casting looks and toxic odor

the dashed expectation, sting of a quiet no, grownup's tears, grief's piteous wail...

things that tug the ragged curtain back enough for the glimpse

that chills all hearts, that those with wings of the glad

can leave behind

Those with wings of the glad carry merriment in their eyes

and their laughter is jolly and kind

though they cry and die like the rest