Always small rooms
and square, white places,
limited possessions gathered
up, unpacked and packed again
every few years. You bet
someone probably said something
to you when you were six;
maybe it wasn’t even words,
maybe it was all in the eyes
of a stranger passing, or
their mouth, straight and cold and hard
as a robber’s forgotten crowbar.

Likely it wasn’t about you
at all, as most things aren’t –
the look, the word,
the gesture, the disapproval
you sensed as you reached out for
something new
something different
some childish magic – but

the dusty garage lightbulb gripped
and fingertips duly stung
you ran
with it, grew
like a gnarled root wrapped
like a sedan around a lamppost,
as we all do, it being so easy
to shape a life.

Occasionally you catch it
in your routine,
in your simple meals,
your watered plants,
your gait, your fists
shoved deep into your coat
in the snarling wind
and then it’s gone

back into the smoke
of direct debits, the smog
of washed bedsheets, the haze
of the humdrum – think
something about butterflies,
something about hurricanes.