Fiction    Reading Room    Memoir    Interview

the shy child

I want to write about the ultimate shy child
she’s so shy she can’t say her own name
you don’t want to push her into the world
to be bullied, learn swear words, change.
so you don’t, you wait. she’s always always waiting.
and so quietly, sometimes you leave her behind
leave her at the movies, the supermarket,
and when you go back, she’s just been waiting.
when she sees you she holds out her arms, hello.
her face forgiving, kind of resigned.
she likes puzzles with pictures of baby animals
complex equations that end in odd numbers
reading the paper. she sighs over the state of the world,
sips her coffee, black. she wants to kiss someone
ride a Ferris wheel. witness Aurora Borealis.
she’s getting tired of me, failing to live BIG.
maybe she’s just tired.
I wanted to write a poem about the shy child.
to leave her with all her potential.
I want to write about when I was ten. my mother
told me about my sister that died. still, very small, inside.
she said: I’m not sad, you’re big enough for two people.
that heavy thought. I was born at 11:58 p.m.
so we would’ve been twins, but if she’d arrived second
I expect we’d have different birthdays.
I would like two birthdays.
I want to write about my brother.
the one with the pale hair and dimples.
he says if he could have a superpower,
he’d want the ability to find things that he’s lost.
some of these things might be: our orange kitten,
his t-shirt with the fake shark bite out of it
and his Crazy Legs G.I. Joe.
I know where Crazy Legs is. I buried him
when I spun his legs too far and they fell off.
I didn’t tell my brother.
I hate to make his good face sad.
one day I might tell him,
probably not about the G.I. Joe but that it’s OK,
sometimes, to let things go.
Johanna Aitchison
Michele Amas
Angela Andrews
Sarah Barnett
David Beach
Ken Bolton
Jenny Bornholdt
Rachel Bush
Mary Cresswell
Stephanie De Montalk
Cliff Fell
Tom Fitzsimons
Brian Flaherty
David Geary
Bernadette Hall
Kerry Hines
Andrew Johnston
Therese Lloyd
Iggy McGovern
Mary Macpherson
Dora Malech
Vana Manasiadis
Emma Neale
Gregory O'Brien
Lucy Orbell
Zach Savich
Charlotte Simmonds
Marty Smith
Elizabeth Smither
Abby Stewart  
Robert Sullivan
Jo Thorpe
Cath Vidler
Louise Wallace
Ashleigh Young

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