I am three
And quickly learn
that blue is for boys
and, furthermore,
only girls wear pink.

Now 4
And there, in a faraway land,
next to Uncle Ron in Phoenix,
the verdict is out: Chaos.
A sensation of privilege and confusion
trickles down my back.

5 fingers
Stumped by the oval
and why boys have muscles
to carry chairs, even though
I raise my hand
for a chance to leave class
to prove that I, too
can lift a chair.

Pass me the ball!
My brother has all the fun.
I do gymnastics on Saturdays
and every Tuesday evening
rain or shine.

Lucky #7
Growing, sprinting,
winning all the races!
Glazed with pride and sweat,
the boys do not accept
my petite triumphs.

A 10 year old
hands me a daisy
and takes my hand.
But, I prefer geraniums
and recess is almost over.

The 13th
Enchanté, Tout le monde.
There goes my curiosity again,
higher than a tower
or than black smoke escaping the first,
the second.

Ash migrates
from earth’s sky up into heaven,
Firefighters, Police,
please keep us safe.

17 years old
Eager for rugby,
to run wild, show them what I’ve got.
Dad shakes his head.
Mom nods along:
(will discuss later).

22 years of discovery:
Jane Austin, James Joyce,
Oprah, Obama,
Andy Jones.
Alanis Morissette, Tina Fey,
Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
The Dog Days. Travel. Self.
Mom and Beyoncé.

26 already!
I can do anything because
I am a girl.
Repeat, I am a nasty woman
who can run the world
better than you.

27 years old
Old enough to teach others
boys can like pink, too.
And girls can be president!
For now, president of my classroom.

Age 29
After coming this far,
I cannot
and will not go alone
for a stroll in the park after dark.
I cannot
and will not ask a police officer
(a stranger)
to help,
to maybe do his job
because I know what you did.

We all know
exactly what you did.

Our home and native land,
this little island we call ‘ome,
We Must Do Better.
We hang our heads today
because we know what you did

all too well.