I spend entire days contorting my body,
Trying to see behind myself, the path that brought me here.
Feeling delicately at the ground with pointed toes
As if I could slip perfectly into snowdrift footsteps,
never falter, stay within the lines winding back and back through time.
But I’m a lumbering beast crashing through this world, no lithe gazelle.
I failed at ballet, marching band, cartwheels, handstands.
Squinty half-blind with no rhythm, no innate sense of my shape,
I remember running backward to the wrong goals, the wrong bases, classmates left gaping
At my ineptitude.
How can every eye that ever judged me, misjudged me, saw through my lies,
Be watching me at once, unblinking, elbows nudging each other
Under the table,
Jostling and jockeying for position and space in my mind.
I howl, I sing, repeat phrases like petting a lucky stone tucked in my pocket, worn smooth and soothing, try to evict them but they won’t go.
If I’d been born with piano-thin fingers, delicate shoulder blades, angel wings, lightweight dreams
Instead of swollen lips and bee-stung hips, opinions,
The musty heft of books on my chest, compressing my heart.
If I could be anything other than me.