Guinness, Not Sodas

by Stephanie Malatestinic

I lacked the depth of the underground
when I first arrived in London.
Tour guides were just textbooks:
skimmed, but never read.
Trapped in high school temperament,
I tread water. Afraid to cross over
into the deep end of reality.
I had a tight grip on my past, the same way
the lonely man at the pub held onto his pint.
But wisdom rushed along the Thames,
speaking Shakespeare and Tolkien;
and truth seeped like syrup
down the walls of St. Paul’s cathedral.
Architecture etched with history
erected cultured pillars in my soul and,
as if Ben’s hands stopped ticking, I paused;
Raindrops washed away childhood dependence.
In the wind, I felt my future.
My younger self stayed in London
and she would not cross Abbey Road alone,
and she swore she’d never drink tea.
I found depth down the escalator
of Westminster station
sipping Guinness, not soda,
Singing theatre, not pop songs.
And like Kensington Gardens in the spring,
I have grown.