This Generation

By: Ada Heller

I sit 
in a green plastic booth
Sandwiched between a purple table 
and a streaky orange wall
I keep my fingers squished into my ears 
while I watch a librarian chase a girl my age around 
She has a purple skateboard in one hand 
a devilish smile on her face 
and freedom flies in her hair 
Eventually, the librarian catches up to her 
and informs her that 
she can join her brother’s ban from the library 
until September 1st 
Which makes me think
she’s a regular 
Which makes me think 
that the librarian has acted this skit out
many times before 
So when the librarian stops by my table 
sweaty with his body’s tears of 
“Why is this my life” 
He smiles at me 
and my book 
and my ink-stained hands
and says he is glad to see 
someone reading a book 
in a library, 
in a teens section, 
That has five rows of computers 
and four full of books
He smiles at me like I am not 
part of the generation that sits behind him 
yelling at computer screens 
and the monsters in their heads 
He smiles at me as if I am 
the 10% of my generation 
That his generation has not yet labeled
As if I should skip to the adult section 
Where the nonfiction glares down the fiction 
with a menacing glare
As if I never feel like riding a skateboard 
through rows of books
As if I’ve never wanted to scream in the quiet 
or wash away reality with a glowing screen
This generation is many things
but it’s never 
whatever society calls it 
I am part of this generation 
Whatever the future looks like 
lies partly in my hands
I am part of this generation 
I read books 
check Instagram 
I write so that I don’t drown 
I hang out in public places with my noisy friends 
because I am part of the population 
My generation and my future 
is already better than some of yours 
because I know we won’t look at our children 
and say that we raised such a lost generation 
because we are only lost because
you tell us we are 
Let me repeat 
we are only lost 
because you tell us we are 
I don’t want to hear snide remarks
about my cell phone 
and how much skin I show 
or even the hand of my girlfriend 
that I hold 
because what’s on the outside 
only shows you what you want to see 
I am not lost 
We have not failed 
The only thing strange about my generation 
is that we will not tell the generations to come 
That they’ve failed 
before they’ve been given a chance to become 
A found generation