“What I Learned from Someone I Love” and “Exploring”

In Issue 57 by Ian Naranjo

Photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash

What I Learned from Someone I Love

Tell your kids that love is essential

but do not love yourself.

Keep a spider inside your shoulder.

Let it tuck itself there

as it protects a lead ball

residing in your stomach.

Better to keep the

ball there. Than

to deal with

what’s outside

or what else

is inside.

Something that would

allow you to accept


I’ve learned a lot from

you, and I guess that’s

what makes it more challenging.

See, I have a spider

inside me too.

I have a lead ball

that I sometimes

think is bigger than

the one

you keep inside your stomach.

I’m not one to judge.

So, I’m just here to say

that I’m sorry.

I know people hurt you

in the past. I know

others helped create

the spider that houses

itself inside you. How

they had spiders inside

them that others before

helped create. Just

as you helped create mine.

I know

that you thought

you knew what was

best for everyone

and everything

and that you could

never accept being wrong.

I feel sorry for you.

I hope someday you can find

true happiness. Somewhere

in the vast expansive world

away from me.


A tiny little guy

wanders through a cave

looking for a way out.

The cave is not that

big, but sometimes

the exit is not easy

to find. This cave

is familiar to the

little guy. Which

is probably why

he returns there a lot

even though he’s gotten

everything he needs

from it. In truth, he

hates being there.

He wants to move

on from it. Which

is what he tells

everyone who asks.

He likes it

when he finds a way

out. He jumps with

joy when he sees

the sun, or even

a cloudy sky. Just

being in a place

that feels limitless

is good for the little

man. So it’s strange

that he always ends up

in the cave. Time and

time again. In the cave

no bats or stalagmites

just oil paintings and

sculptures of all the

names and events

that the little guy

can’t undo or have back.

First crushes, first love

dreams he held onto

dreams he gave up

dreams he wishes

were his, rather then

his friend’s dreams.

People he used to wish he


He looks around. It never

seems to him that the

exit is ever in the

same spot. For him

the exit to the

cave always moves

around when he’s

looking for it.

Sometimes he thinks

the entrance even

changes size. Like

it’s smaller sometimes

and longer other times.

The little guy is worried

that he’ll find the

entrance one day and

it will be too small

for him to fit through.

He’ll be stuck in the

cave forever and no

one will be around

to hear his cries

for help. The little

guy is fairly used

to being alone.

Though he doesn’t

like it much.

As he tells anyone

who asks.

He knows he might

die in this cave.

Even if he makes

it out today he

knows he could

end up back in there


That thought

scares him, but he

never loses hope.

He keeps going.

Every time he finds himself in that damn cave, he keeps going.

About the Author

Ian Naranjo


Ian Naranjo was diagnosed with Aspberger's syndrome when he was nine years old. Since then, he's obtained a bachelor's degree in Media Arts with a minor in English from The University of New Mexico and has even been published in Meat for Tea: The Valley Review.

Read more work by Ian Naranjo .

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