Social – Or Not

By Kimberlin Kubo.

I’m not incredibly close to
Anybody my age,
Nor my skin color,
Religion, or gender.
I’ve been taught to
be a part of the herd.
“The herd keeps you safe,”
My elder says.
“Come to church,”
My mom prods.

Be a part of the herd.
By now the adage is within me,
For every time I’m alone,
Fear sets in.
“What am I missing out on?”
The wind howls and points at me sitting at a table for one.
“An axe murderer could break down my door at this moment.”
I hear a knock on the kitchen window
But realize it’s just a tree branch.

After the panic has receded,
I’m trapped by guilt.
“You need friends,”
My mother retorts.
Like the air that I breathe?
And I would counter,
“I hunger for them like I do food:
Fasting for a few hours, indulging, waiting out the discomfort, and repeating.”

Who needs more friends
When I’ve got an abundance
Sitting across from me,
hollow questions?
They still do not know me like I do.

When I’m in school,
It’s always difficult to keep up
The energy that others have in the herd.
Herds transfer my energy somehow,
As if part of a conspiracy of lab coats.
I don’t know where it goes when in its midair flight,
But eventually, it absorbs into their spirits.
I get it back only when I’ve been alone for two
To three hours.

Being alone is pleasant,
Like the chill of winter after
Gallons of hot chocolate.
Prancing about and rolling in the snow,
I feel alive.
But I never feel lonely.

I only think, “How must others see this?”
Of course,
I know I’m alone at the right time for people to see and judge me.
When I’m in my element, though,
No one’s around.
When I’m debating, discussing,
Pondering passionately with
Like-minded people,
Where are my critics?

I’m social—or not.
Depends on your observations and


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