I liked to sit on the rubber tire
In the shady spot on the playground,
Read picture books that took me places.
So I exchanged the picture books
For a lime green Skip-It, like the other girls had,
Skipped my ankles raw, skipped my soul raw,
Breathless to catch up with the kids on the blacktop.
I liked to steal away for hours,
Let my imagination soar,
Building up worlds around myself
Through the power of words, and perhaps magic.
So I bottled up the words inside,
Ran and screamed with the others,
Loud, wild, unreserved,
Until the loudness scraped against my throat,
Scraped against every grain of myself.
I liked to study,
To crack open dusty books,
Delve into classic literature
Contemplate the meaning of everything,
Use big, beautiful words.
So I stuffed the books into the depths of my locker,
Laughed as if to say, Who cares for those old things?
And crammed the big, beautiful words deep down
And let the ugly, light ones float to the top
And stayed out late and half-assed homework assignments,
Convincing myself I cared more about Friday nights than Twelfth Night.
I like get lost in libraries,
Somewhere between prologues and happy endings,
To ride the rhythm of prose,
To let the words fill me
Until they spill over onto new pages
Where I chisel and sculpt them.
So I write for them poems of seeds that rest in the cool lonely of damp earth
Before they sprout into vibrant blossoms,
Of caterpillars that hide away in closed, quiet places
Before they emerge butterflies,
Of writers who brood over empty pages for centuries
Before they touch the world with ink spilling from their very veins.
What’s wrong is to listen to every voice but the song of your own soul.
What’s wrong is to cast away the seed, the cocoon, the empty page, because you cannot yet see what it will be