Untitled (A Life Timeline Up Until Now)

(Inspired by Matt Mullican’s "Untitled")

 

She was an only child,

Who almost didn’t make it.

A stillborn threat and a birth defect,

Make her appreciate her life.

 

Daddy’s allergic to bananas,

And momma always keeps some Christmas decorations up all year.

Hardships helped me learn from early on

It’s the three of us against the world.

 

When all the other kindergarteners wanted to go to recess,

She was looking hard for a book she hadn’t read yet.

And normally she couldn’t find one.

 

Waiting in line to see Beauty and the Beast at Disney World,

In the blazing Florida sun,

I had a blue slushy as I sat on daddy’s shoulders,

But then spit it out.

And my four-year-old self giggled proudly as he gasped.

 

She sang, sure,

But nothing compared to the All City Festival in 6th grade,

Where every kid in choir got together

With an African call song

And really performed.

 

I remember being so nervous for the first ever day of school.

What if my saddle shoes got dirty,

Or my curly hair fell out?

I felt the same anxiety for the first day of high school;

Surrounded by people who didn’t know or trust me.

But I felt so special in my new blue and pink floral pants.

Why did people have to tell me that they looked like wallpaper?

 

She never got factorial equations

Because stories were floating around in her mind.

Symbolism ran through her veins

And her imagination was so extensive, it almost choked her.

 

I quickly learned

That it was cool to like Star Wars,

But no one else liked Harry Potter.

Suddenly, I was alone,

And very far away from Hogwarts.

But I learned to not talk about it,

Because it was easier than getting laughed at.

 

Her boyfriend was a marcher,

And played the instrument she gave up on.

He had the quirk of walking in time with her,

But since they had walked together since first grade,

She only laughed and kept in step with him

Because she knew it made him feel good.

       

I can’t touch the clay again,

Because she taught me how to create with it.

I never thought of her when I used it before.

But now all I can think of when I see it is cancer.

The sadness starts with a pain in my chest,

And goes from my lungs, then to my eyes,

Just like it did with her.

 

She loved God with all her heart,

But didn’t like talking about religion.

Gay rights and politics

Made for much more interesting conversations.

 

I thought a “best friend” had to come from a storybook, with a cookie cutter personality.

But the best ones run with you off a softball pitch in the pouring rain

Holding a paintbrush in her hand.

She’s a ginger puffball that stands at four foot nothing to my five foot seven,

And likes to run with wolves.

 

She always loved gazing at the stars,

But she needed his help to realize how to appreciate the constellations and their stories.

She wanted to thank him,

But she felt he knew nonetheless.

 

Delaware is a tiny hole,

That I’m only waiting to dig myself out of.

But I’m too terrified of life outside town too dare to go and find a shovel.

 

She never knew if she was talking about me,

Or if I made her up to escape as someone else.

 
This poem is about: 
Me
My family
My community

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