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Not Yet
by Izaak Opatz

In high school, they told me you gotta go to college
Because those blue-collar jobs don't exist anymore
In college, I learned that a four-year degree
Is about as useful as a high school diploma was before

Some of my friends got jobs in coffee shops
Some fell to making music or writing poems
Some took out loans and went back to school
Some of them just went home

Me, I was afraid of getting stuck
Everybody said don't get anybody pregnant
And don't get a job in front of a computer screen

Not yet
Not yet
Not yet

You've got your whole life ahead of you
Enjoy it while you still can
That's what everybody told me, as if youth were the last
Gasp inside a plastic bag

So I clung to my freedom greedily
I cut up all the credit cards they sent me
I kept my distance from long-term leases
I wanted a dog, but I never got one

I left my options open for so long
So long, they started drying out
When someone suggested I stick around
I'm not ready

Not yet
Not yet
Not yet

I was proud of having nothing but a bed in the back of my truck
And a Coleman stove,
and a sleeping bag - almost nothing that I couldn't give up

I could do almost anything I
wanted, I could drive down to Mexico mañana
But I found myself wishing I had a little more that I could hold onto
I wanted something that I can't let
go, or replace at the next Sinclair
There's a girl I miss

With silver streaks
In her hair
Making me wish
I was there

I pull off the interstate, and drive to her house
Park at the curb and try to get a grip
I curl my knuckles and I hitch up my heart
And knock on her front door

"It's me," I say, smiling blindly
Feeling familiar and out of sorts
I recognize the smell of her cigarettes
And some of the same plants on her front porch

I jiggle the doorknob and say, "Let me in"
I hear muffled voices and shuffled steps
Then she says, "No, don't come in
I'm not ready, not yet"

Contributed by Julia F. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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