Inside Outside Stephanie

                                                1
 
I made myself. Mommy and Daddy were proud, in that order.
I didn’t mail myself like a letter some other kids
already knew. I learned to use stamps. They stuck to my thumb
without any glue. I didn’t have any permission.
 
                                                2
 
There was a snowstorm that lasted three days
and a cavern of monochrome memory. There were board games, and a
      pencil-and-paper game
where the object was to figure out the object of the game.
There was a stack of broad-rule writing paper, and a stapled calendar,
and a 64-pack of sparkly rainbow crayons, to make each week look different
since they all started out black and white, and all the same.
 
                                                3
 
O grapefruit (as color and flavor). O never quite rightly tied laces. O look,
up there on the uneven climbing bars,
too hot to touch where the sun touches, now that it’s spring,
 
the shadow of a tarp, like a sail between sailors
and thin swings that make no decision, like weathervanes.
 
O think of the lost Chuck Taylors. The lost Mary Janes.
Stephanie Burt, "Inside Outside Stephanie" from Advice from the Lights.  Copyright © 2017 by Stephanie Burt.  Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press, www.graywolfpress.org.
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