Signs

Once I realized, all grown up,
that my signature was a thing of power
(a thing that could incur or forgive debt –
validate ideas, even bad ones –
make legal and binding a decision to stay
or to flee),
I sat with nib at paper, practicing,
scratching away at the curves and loops
trying to feel the weight of its meaning.
But like those mornings when you stand at the mirror
with a new hair cut,
I couldn’t decide whether to make it messy
or elegant.
I finally settled on a nonchalant scrawl, and have since
wasted that spiky cursive on bad checks, rude letters,
and a failed marriage.
Now I apply my signature much more sparingly.
Like my hair, still a mess, but a considered one.

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