The common companions of reward and regret
seem to enrich and impoverish
in comparable measure.
My Narcissan impulse unsealed
by a veneer of responsibility and respect,
the ineffectual coatings of a living timber
from a forest of time-nurtured confidence,
where age-rings capture the soot of clumsy shortfall and carelessness.
Compromise and denial whittle me
to a functional form
upon which others feast and celebrate.
testify to wounds inflicted by a supple sapling
then too bent by deference
ever to bloom a canopy.