Then I became a child again, shut away
in my room while the grown-ups would play.
All my life has been one sorrowful dream,
the kind where you think you are being loved
and kissed on and then there are only the bells
of waking. If I knew arithmetic and grammar,
maybe things would be different.
I could buy a bungalow at the beach,
and you would return kind friend.
When I tell people it’s not my fault
that my brain is only half-formed,
they don’t believe me. And so I carve a hole
where it hurts the most to show the liquid
swimming that never lets itself know how
to be or where to go. Lights of stars fall in.
Or sometimes it’s the yellow of factory sparks—
From where you used to lead me into when my hands
knew to be caring and not devastating, but useful.
Michelle Askin lives and works in the Washington DC area. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Pleiades, PANK, 2Riverview, Oranges & Sardines, Qu, and elsewhere.