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After A While
by Veronica Shoftsall


After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul.

And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning and company doesn't mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts and presents aren't promises.

And you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead, with the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child.

And you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans, and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight. .

After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to leave you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure;
You really are strong, you really do have worth.
And you learn, and you learn
With every goodbye you learn.

© 1971 Veronica A. Shoffstall
reprinted here with permission

Graphic by Alan Ayers, artist

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