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Photo by Rene Bernal on Unsplash

Today I seek to be rebuilt from the
principles found at the sandbox of my youth
and the rubble of social demolition,
of harmful belief systems. How we are often cruel
to the innocence of youth. Toppling over the solid
foundation of building blocks. The bold, solid, colorful
attitudes we’re born with. We arrive to the world
shocked. Suddenly into the bright hospital
Light. Smacked on the behind. Screaming.
“Brand spanking new.” Beautifully wild. Wonderfully

Willing to be spun, shaped, molded like clay. Soft,
pliable, vulnerable beings. We willingly take on form
with a firm, subtle guidance of the steady hand of paternal
instincts, literally and figuratively shaping our heads.

Eventually into the age of socialization where we are
Willing to be new. Name tag and crayon boxes at the ready.
Creating salutations and identities. Wrist burst
past sleeves. Hands searching for validation. Reaching
for the stars that we know are waiting at the vortex
of dido sheets or the teachers desk.

Tiny little galaxies orbiting around the storytime
rug. Tethered by the pull of a curious gravity.
Bells ring dismissing us into the next hour.
As seasons change. Somehow so does
our willingness.

Bruised knees and scraped palms
found in the recess of our growth, turn into temperament
teenage egos and snooty little prides; huddled
up together and isolating the high brows in
hoodies. The type of kid that dares to be awkward.
unglamorized. Just plain, though brilliant. Clumsy and
green, yet in stride with the moments that keep
the time that passes. Full of sincerity, tolerance,
unity, and playful hearts.

Who is it that barges
into our imaginations and interrupts
our dreams? Who is it that walks
out on us and our developments, causing us to
put our fervent ambitions on ice, freezing
us in apathy and fear?

When do we become whole in spite of being pulled apart?
I would say we keep being willing to grow and prune
each other when and where necessary, letting kindergarten
flourish in our spirits.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Aoki Pink is an African American writer from South Central Los Angeles who was formerly incarcerated in California. Aoki Pink is her pen name.