I have always been the other,
wide-eyed dreaming into Shakespeare, six
and chasing my brother with a sword, pulling
mint from out the sideyard, stolen books
the currency in my house.
I am not you. I have never been,
Barbie-pink and princess, curling
sparkles into hair, rhinestones
onto cowboys, no, I always knew
I will be a paladin in my tie-dye
Tumbling, end over end down railroads,
observation post roofs along the alley, witch
in the bramble, crowned with grapevine
and playing war in thickets, stealing
quarters for the bookstore.
I will never falter, and I will never fail,
these real-life tragedies can’t catch me,
midnight stair-step watching, staring
into the empty dark. Careening into darkness,
pickup truck and boots.
I will always be the other,
gun-shy, heartbroken, shouting and climbing
ladders, running gangs of informants
in the schoolyard, lurking,
to listen to the stories,
or to enjoy the lurk.
Never shouting, I went quiet, have stayed,
black cat on the windowsill, fat with ego,
thicket-crouched and crowned in berries,
ribbons ‘round my neck.