Choose Life

According to an ancient American myth,
When a child is born,
The child can choose to leave or stay
Once human life has been sampled for a while.

Parents fear children will choose to leave,
If they catch on too early to the whims of fate
And the random horrors of the universe,
So their parents tell them stories in poetry.

The stories find patterns everywhere.
Everything seems nice and neat and meant to be.
By the time the child finds out that things are not so,
It is too late to go.

The source of poetry is a lie,
A just so story,
A whistle in the dark to quell fear of change and chance
And beasts that roar in the night.

The source of poetry is a parent pleading
With a child
To stay
And have hope it will be all right.

Once we know we have been fooled,
We repeat the old poetic stories
As talismans to keep chance at bay
To quell the fear that very little happens for a reason.

When poetry becomes a talisman,
We sometimes call it prayer.
Prayer to an arbitrary god
Determined by the place of our birth.

Where do the children go who see through the ruse,
When they choose to get out before the getting out gets too hard?
Someplace nice, I hope.
Someplace where the stories are true.