• Carla

The Good Fight


I am smart and my round metal frames let them know it.

Awkward squared.

I tell myself I’m a swan and they’ve always made odd ducks.

I am smart and my grades let them know it.

Awkward with a capital A.

I shift foot to foot reciting the Silverstein poem I memorized in a day.

I am smart and my flute let them know it.

Awkward and shiny.

I hug that black box to my body on the bus like a shield.

I am smart and I try not to show it.

Awkward anyway.

I hide in the bathroom putting lipstick on with all four eyes.


It’s raining again,

but I am glad if it means

I don’t have to excuse

my nose from between

the covers of this book.


The instructor invites us to close our eyes,

spread our feet to the very edges of our mat,

let our knees fall gently together

The further my feet spread the easier the fall,

the more I relax

I have been so afraid of this place

Moving toward our own edges,

two feet,


I know it’s the way these things go

I have been afraid of no way back

The worst thing just happened,

you told me you were afraid

from your side of the mat

Those words barely inched out of your mouth

and nudged us to our very edges

We fall gently together,

two knees,



I swirl through a room now, one with the twisters in my hair.

These are not the same strands I used to torture into straightness.

My mousy waves were limp and little more than a bother.

I think that I was one with them too.


Flour and water are all you need.

Mix well and take it slow—

really slow—

six-days-waiting-in-a-row slow.

Set yourself in a warm, dry place,

watch what bubbles up,

feed and water at intervals.

Rest. Repeat. Rest some more.

Have patience, for in the perfect time

you will be infinite, unstoppable,

and ready to rise

over and over

and over and over

and over and over


Thank you for joining me. I am so glad you’re here!


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