I. Toddler Years
Slow to speak,
they checked my ears.
I had nothing important to say.
People are scary.
They’d come at night in large groups,
small groups in the day.
Stay close to mom at all times.
III. Storms From 8 to 16
Game nights were the best
when rain storms
pounded the ground
knocked power lines out
lit up the sky with sparks
made by exploding transformers.
We’d light candles all around the house,
take out a deck of cards, and gamble the night away.
I couldn’t figure out
how to join in games
that I didn’t
understand the rules
Sometimes I’d be invited
over to their house
and I’d see there were lives
Easier to build walls
Keep them all at bay
I’d have to wait
until much later
Hours went by as I brushed and styled Louise’s hair
or I stroked what was left of Lyon’s fur
or cradled Thumbelina 1, 2, and 3 as they wiggled in my arms
Imagination built in silence and set free
only through screams I’d call singing
and captured in bottles, labeled, and stored
safely until much later when
games night didn’t need a storm first
and I had something to say
about my need to stay close to mom at all times.