The Jacket I Stowed Away

My mother replaced my action figures with Barbie dolls.

Ripped camouflaged jackets from growing bones

And placed a spoon in one hand and an idea in another.


My mother told me to ‘get out those tattered shorts,’ when I wanted to play outside.

Put on that pink dress I brought you, the one with the ribbon.’

I couldn’t play on the grass. Too fragile and exposed.


My mother took a comb to my unruly hair and pulled

And pressed and bunched and cut until I looked like those Barbie dolls

Except my legs can bend


My body is warm

My eyes can see

And my ears can hear

And I can breathe;

I am alive.


My mother told me a lot of things; told me to do a lot of things…

But she never once told me to quit.


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