Growing, I dubbed myself “the late bloomer” I was late to walking, talking, running, learning and growing. I was late in my journey into and through puberty And I was late in understanding both the importance and dangers of my skin and its hue. The older I became, the clearer it was that I was also late in my understanding that I was never the late bloomer I thought I was. It wasn’t that I was late for anything It was that I was, for some divine reason, always left behind. They all fell in love first; fell out of love first, had their hearts broken first Grew into their skin first Found themselves first, graduated first, embraced independence first Created families first and succeeded first While I remained. Stuck. Still blooming. Left behind, not to suffer, as I’ve oft lamented But to learn; to understand the depths of my strengths and abilities. To prepare for the coming tides, because they will come The love, the heartbreak, the family, the success, the fulfilment It will come And when it does I will shed this new moniker And wear a new one Because I will no longer be left behind.