Back in high school
hospital gowns replaced prom dresses.
And the only recital my mom ever went to
was a funeral that took place on the stage of the hospital floor linoleum
for what I left behind in that wheelchair
when I took my second set of first steps
As the girl who lived.
Ever since they carved me out of that car, well done;
just the way the world likes it,
for the storms in my eyes,
the way my leg bows in,
and how my head always tilts to the left, just enough
to keep me from standing proud.
I’ll come to find solace in the salt of my eyes
and dream of the east coast during fall.
Its ten cent salt water taffy.
The beach where my father used to fly kites
high enough for the man-made wings to dance with the gulls.
And there I’ll blame the spray of the sea for my tear-burnt cheeks,
the taffy for my new, sticky bones,
and the sugar for the lump that’s been sitting in my throat
all these years.
At the water’s edge, I’ll fly a kite made out of my hospital gowns
sewn with the stitches unwound from around the equator of my ribcage.
So that my sticky bones can remember
what weightlessness feels like;
So that my throat can cry with the gulls
long enough for it to say something other than
an apology for who I am now.