We hold it against you that you survived. People better than you are dead, but you still punch the clock. Your body has wizened but has not bled its substance out on the killing floor or flatlined in intensive care or vanished after school or stepped off the ledge in despair. Of all those you started with, only you are still around; only you have not been listed with the defeated and the drowned. So how could you ever win our respect?-- you, who had the sense to duck, you, with your strength almost intact and all your good luck.
From The Long Meadow by Vijay Seshadri. Copyright © 2004 by Vijay Seshadri. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota. All rights reserved.