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.

Cherry-blossom bleedings
testify to wounds inflicted by a supple sapling
then too bent by deference
ever to bloom a canopy.

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