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.