Gentle breath, an infant’s breath, soft and rhythmic, no yearning
because all one’s needs are met. The cradle, like the arms
of Mother; the cottony soft blanket as tender
against the skin as Father’s breath. Hope. Promise.
It didn’t turn out that way. Mother wanted
a Princess, Father wanted a Queen. Brothers wanted to be seen. Teachers
wanted a puppet. Neighbors wanted a ghost. Friends, there were
no friends. Me? I wanted to feel at home where I was
and since I could not I wandered. And the night air
through the dusty metal screen, and the cars on the highway
and the shadows in the woods, and the dusty path between
the briars became Home. And because of those things
how to be on my own.