Since the 4th grade production of Peter Pan.
All my closest friends played lost boys, but
I was a pirate, one of a lawless, loathsome crew.
The 6th grade boy who played Captain Hook
Was the coolest kid in the entire school.
He danced around swinging his hook.
Why couldn’t I be him?
I came home and told my parents I wanted to be a pirate.
They agreed on the condition I didn’t run away from home.
I said okay and my mother redid my room with pirate wallpaper.
When my parents made me take dance lessons,
I went as long as I also learned how to do a sailor’s jig.
In high school when my friends and I used fake ID’s
To go to bars two towns over, they’d order beers.
I only drank rum.
In college, fraternity boys were too tame.
I spent my time in bars down by the docks
Listening to sailors tell yarns of exotic places.
I graduated with honors as my parent wished
And gave them my framed diploma.
My mother told me, “Do some good with your life.”
My father made me a deal, go to law school,
Pass the bar and he’d buy me any car I wanted.
With a black stripe down its length. I called it “Polly.”
I joined a crew of lawyers that specialized in bankruptcy.
It was a natural fit for me. We could take a company down,
Cut its contractual obligations to shreds
And turn a substantial profit. We were so good
I made more money than any thirty year old
Knew what to do with.
I had a gorgeous, golden-haired girlfriend.
We cruised to distant islands and drank daiquiris
In dark bars. She loved the jewels I gave her.
That relationship didn’t last, but each Christmas
I went home, showered my parents with gifts,
Treasures from around the world.
I think they liked them.
They didn’t say much.
I’d spend a lot of my visit in my old room
Staring at the wallpaper, picking out
My favorite pirates like I use to,
Recalling the 4th grade play,
Being a pirate. Now
I wonder, when
Did I become
A lost boy?