the research done with feral children shows
our neural pathways form
in line with what we need to learn,
and once we’re adolescents, then these paths are set
and can no longer change.
so if we fail to learn at least one abstract language
when we’re young, then once we’re ten
we can no longer do so:
all our paths are now in use for more essential purposes
(like instinct, the alertness to non-verbal cues, perhaps
the deeper meaning of caress, and hug).
but what if it’s the same for learning presence?
what if all those fears and unmet needs of early youth
informed us that we can’t afford to just let go,
not even for one moment?
what if our detachment, now, is in our bones
and in our bodies’ messageways so deep,
and so essentially a part of us
we cannot now escape it, or unlearn it anymore?
and what if modern humans now are wired
for chronic stress, a lifelong fate
of raw, inflamed response
to all the hurts and empty spaces, childhood scars
and pain and fears we’ve never learned to tame,
bequeathing incapacity, for life,
for true connection or authentic self?
if so these masks we wear, these sad personas
all the same, like everybody-else,
are truly prisons we cannot escape,
and sadder yet, we’ve raised our own young feral ones
to carry on our sentence, just like us
aware enough to know just what we’ve lost
but nevermore the means to find it.