Even as an embryo, she made room for "the other guy." Slick and bloody, she emerged quietly: Why spoil the doctor's best moment? When Dad ran over her tricycle, she smiled, and when Mom drowned her kittens, she curtsied, a Swiss statuette. Her teachers liked the way she sat at her desk, composed as yesterday's news. In high school she decorated her locker with heart-shaped doilies and only went so far, a cartoon kiss at the door. She read the classics, The Glamorous Dolly Madison, and dreamed of marrying the boy in the choir whose voice never changed. Wedding photos reveal a waterfall where her face should be. Her husband admired how she bound her feet to buff the linoleum. When she got old, she remembered to say pardon to the children she no longer recognized, smiling sons and daughters who sat at her bedside watching her fade to a wink.
From Stand Up Poetry: An Expanded Anthology, edited by Charles Harper Webb, published by the University of Iowa Press. Copyright © 2002 by University of Iowa Press. All rights reserved.