Twisted in a lasso of jumprope tied to a tree
or trapped in another big-block fort, I waited,
ever the good girl, for others to tell me who I was
to be that day, to discover my supporting role in adventures
enacted beneath a Mayflower picnic table, Starship Jungle Gym,
or amphitheater of arching birch boughs down by Swan Creek.
I took my place in more than one kid’s bedwetting fever dream,
big brother nightmare, or little sister fairytale scenario, acting
the hapless victim, while they inevitably reigned supreme.
I let others tell the story, tell me what parts to play, until
that time, at ten, I refused to charcoal my face, ala OJ Simpson,
for the talent show, while my sister imitated Howard Cosell
for the hilarious play-by-play of the Battle of the Sexes
performed for our mother, who loved us and laughed,
but could not save me from the looming humiliation;
and so I ran to a bathroom stall, locked it, and sobbed
until the fourth wall shattered inside of me, the one I hid
Behind, bound in costumes and false faces worn to play
silent roles, too deafened by others to hear my own silence.
I worked to own the story after that, jimmy the loose timber
of my imagination with the same crowbar I would use to pry
up the boards on every stage and set I had let others build around me.