This You Have Learned

Someone is having a little existential crisis in Becky Hirsch's poem "This You Have Learned."

Visual art by Esther Chung.

This you have learned:
In some cultures they spear roasted pig guts on a stick;
They grip hard with both hands.
In the end times scenario that plays out in your head, you pray to be one of the saved.

This you have learned:
You have lost control.
In the end times scenario that plays out in your head, you pray to be one of the saved.
We have only been awake a little while but already begging gets us nowhere.

You have lost control.
In some ways there is nothing left that we can teach you.
We have only been awake a little while but already begging gets us nowhere.
In the night you clutch hymns to your heart like cluttering insects.

In some ways there is nothing left that we can teach you.
Where you go on vacations is not where you will go to die.
In the night you clutch hymns to your heart like cluttering insects.
In some ways there is nothing left but what we can teach you about yourself.

Where you go on vacations is not where you will go to die.
They grip hard –both hands!
In some ways there is nothing left but what we can teach you about yourself.
This you have learned.

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Becky Joy Hirsch is a sixteen-year-old Californian who has never held a steady job. She frequently finds herself speaking in public with no idea how she got there. She hopes to see this year’s Parallax published without a hitch and eventually graduate and possibly go on to do something with her life.