Canvas

for teens, by teens

Canvas Teen Literary Journal is published quarterly in print, ebook, web, video, and audio formats.

A Denunciation of Adulthood 

(after "A Hymn to Childhood" by Li-Young Lee)

Kiran Damodaran


Adulthood? Which adulthood?
The one that began too early?
The one in which I taught my daughter to be fearless
and unafraid of the bottomless crater in the front yard
and the monstrous heater in the basement?

The one infiltrated by disarmed children
without sufficient anxiety,
sprinting the yards and fields,
while soft whispers questioned an old memory,
and the outside inside me devolved into something smaller,
the closets closer together, with fewer and fewer
objects present?

The words screamed at themselves,
to their infinities in space.
The pictures, at me,
for failing to preserve that young, toothless stage.

For I was alive without my daughter
in practices of desperation and survival.
I taught her to live so loosely that
the nothingness was a reality I entered under the danger
of an unfettered hand. Exist! Out
walk the masters whispering, the civilians murmuring,
lifting her under the ground,
abandoning my daughter’s soul.

Wake up.
No truth closes without my daughter
hearing a story that makes her smile.
No truth closes without my wife standing
outside the wings of the coffin.

Which adulthood? The one that envelops me? Me,
no longer a child, and quick to devolve.
No longer listening to man
and recognizing that fire
burning isn’t the sight of man speaking,
and summer isn’t the limitless home
where man learns to recognize
a shoreline by its harmony and time measure.

Which adulthood?
The one in which I’m trapped? Me,
so quick to trust my thoughts,
I create ripples
in the stillness of the foundation,
truth in my death,
happiness in the unheard raven at dawn,
scarcity in the wingless
hiding at dusk. No longer quick to misinterpret
dreams as reality, hell
as distant and imperceptible,
heaven as near and attainable–
            birth from adulthood, and neither of us
into reality.


A sixteen-year-old high school student at Newark Academy in Livingston, New Jersey, Kiran Damodaran enjoys singing, playing guitar, and of course, reading and writing poetry. His work has been published in the Writers- Slate, sponsored by The Writing Conference, and by Live Poets Society of NJ. He received 2nd place in the narration category of The Writing Conference-s annual contest and a spot as a Topical Winner in American High School Poets -Of Love and Dedication,- sponsored by Live Poets Society.

© Canvas Literary Journal 2016
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