Survivor

To celebrate his just-announced Pulitzer win, a poem from Vijay Seshadri!

We hold it against you that you survived.
People better than you are dead,
but you still punch the clock.
Your body has wizened but has not bled

its substance out on the killing floor
or flatlined in intensive care
or vanished after school
or stepped off the ledge in despair.

Of all those you started with,
only you are still around;
only you have not been listed with
the defeated and the drowned.

So how could you ever win our respect?–
you, who had the sense to duck,
you, with your strength almost intact
and all your good luck.

Vijay Seshadri

 

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