Perfect Nothing

When I was small
I sat by the sand lot and watched the boys play,
my fingers coiled through the
chain link fence.
I would squint at the burnt sky,
and my dusty legs were always
scraped at the knee.

Little boys with backwards caps,
they said I was bad at ball because I was
a girl; but in truth-
I was just
bad at ball.

But I didn't mind;
I could out-climb them all
in the heavy oak that leaned its elbow
against the ivy-crippled church,
I always played better by myself
anyways.

I practiced my knife throw,
I did my face in mulberry war paint,
I strung up pulleys to lift my books and my tea
into my old oak.

One day I burned my name into the topmost bough
with my grandpa's magnifying glass,
my weight shifting in the heady summer wind
with the tired wood;
I turned myself into another branch
so that the tree would not notice my intruding
and drop me from her arms back to the
hard dirt and
boys below.

I built fairy houses with beds of
Creeping Charlie and dandelion fluff,
hats made out of perfect acorn lids,
and a minute sidewalk from pebbles
pushed into the soft earth with my
thumbs.

They, the fairies, kept me company-
pulled at my braids
and whispered in my ear
while I,
a God,
built cities out of dust.

I was a solitary bird-
no siblings,
my cat was my closest friend, although
she was too fat to be raised into my tree
with pulley ropes.

I have never needed anybody else,
just my fairies and the cat.

I danced backwards;
I never missed human people,
before.

This, then, should not be such a blow-
It should not make my blood so hard.

It should not strip my skin from my bones,
and fill me up with coal.

I already said goodbye,
I already said goodbye.
It is not fair.

I am left here dangling like a star;
I fear black holes.
I fear the space that is full of only nothing,
and nothing but nothing as far as the eye of the storm
can reach.
Nothing saturated with nothing,
nothing that sets my teeth on edge
and tangles in my hair.

There are no chain link fences,
there are no acorn hats,
no cats,
and no more goodbyes-
a perfect nothing.





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