Graduation, by Annette Ozolins

by Annette Ozolins

No one gets out alive
On and on and on and on
Moving into adulthood, in his own right, attached to a screen, in love–the third of
her kind–pretty and funny and not so bright
Their bodies into orbit at every close encounter
They are a tribe now
Touching one another, languid and confident
gossip of who banged who, who did who

I wish to impart some sort of something
To him, to them–subtle or overt–but age and indifference and criticism and
misunderstanding get in the way

My breast hurts
A reminder that Life with a capital L is not forever
There’s only one space and time continuum and I am on it
So are you
He is too, all of us, whether we like or not, know it or not, we are involved

There was a season to listen to voices other than our own
But that season has gone
We can no longer pretend the Mother of all mothers is invincible
We can no longer pretend

What if? How? I can’t. I will. One day.
None of that exists

It is time to fly or drop to our knees and never arise
Either way there is no time for anything else

Annette’s Process notes: “Graduation” is a piece about time and aging and mothering and letting go. While attending graduations, from high school, college, even middle school, one begins to use these passages as a time for reflection. The poem came out of one such moment. While watching high school students at their graduation party, huddled in the corner, completely self-contained, gossiping and enjoying each other’s company, it was clear that the adults, me included, were left out of these exchanges. Perhaps this is rightly so, each generation leaves the next generation behind, but it did illustrate the divide which happens over time between children and parents. It also illustrates what happens with time in general: Time moves on. It waits for no one. There is only now to do and be what we dream of.

Annette Ozolins is a filmmaker and actress with an education in Women’s Studies and Philosophy from Duke University. She was a founding member of The Downtown Playhouse in Los Angeles and has worked with activists, writers and directors such as Mike White (Enlightened, School of Rock), Luis Alfaro (Bitter Homes & Gardens, Black Butterfly) and Miguel Arteta (Star Maps, Six Feet Under). She produced the award-winning indie movie ( which highlights the contradictions between self-injury (a mostly hidden and shameful activity) and plastic surgery (a socially acceptable form of cutting and disfigurement). The movie was awarded the Adrienne Shelly Award for Female Filmmakers.

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