And To Think That I Saw It On Kyle Place Street

 

today

I took a walk

past the sagging cherry trees on kyle place street

and the looming gray water tower just down the path

past the bog by the trail        

and the tree house in the oak

until I stopped at my old elementary school

I peered into the window

of my kindergarten

classroom

and seeing myself there

I traveled back in time

back to sliced white bread

to limp ribbons streaming behind flying braids

to the Picasso portraits

that looked like

spoiled potatoes

to the wire framed glasses

and denim overalls

to the boy who always chased me

but ate bark dust when I caught him instead

to buddy

my pet mealworm and science experiment

that turned into dinner

for that one asshole’s praying mantis

to the walks home

beneath a cerulean sky

to an aerial menagerie

a zoo of animal clouds

scudding across the sun

back and

back and

back

memories blending together in a blue-black fog

when recalled

extracted one by one

labeled and pinned down

like feeble insects

but in that kindergarten window

I remembered

they were so much more than

a glass display of fossils

 

because in that house with shuttered window eyes

nestled between towering trees of brilliant reds and oranges

(I will always remember it in autumn),

a small girl with mousy brown hair

and purple wire glasses

hid her nose in the paperback confines

of other worlds

and if you didn’t look closely

that might be all you saw on kyle place street

 

instead of

the universes

inside of her

 

with each papery wing

she soared into new galaxies

leaving kyle place street behind

the first page

waving goodbye to her home as it fluttered open

 

no longer was she merely a girl

in a gray turtle neck

and black-buckled mary janes

but a warrior warding off dragons with a sword

that glinted and glimmered in the dying sunlight

a witch casting spells and brewing potions

exploring the shifting staircases

and forbidden corridors of Hogwarts

a spy carefully analyzing her targets

wary of the constant possibility of a nearby enemy

a tesseract traveler

traversing the wrinkles in time and space

a girl gazing into the abyss of a rabbit hole

and wondering about the wonders inside

a centaur standing in the pool of a lamplight

in a world beyond a wardrobe door

toting my umbrella and parcels

 

when her mother dragged her by one hand to swim lessons

she forgot her swimsuit and too-tight goggles

and donned her scaly tail and seashell top instead

when forced to clean her room or fold her clothes

she transformed into a maiden locked in a tower

or Cinderella, desperately racing to finish so she could dance away to the ball

when confined to her speckled gray desk at school

she was a time traveller from the past

scribbling away furiously

paying ardent attention in order to teach her ancient people

when she teleported back

 

the forest

with its vines reaching for her

tangling in the backyard fence

was no ordinary forest

but one teeming with beasts and giants and elves

one where she could build fairy houses beneath the trunks of trees

that stood like shrouded giant legs outside her window

and evade the snapping jaws of the crocodile lurking in the burbling creek

 

each summer

her family’s sail to the San Juans

revived the dreadful Black Eyed Jill

the scourge of the seven seas

who scowled from her stance at the bow

and scrawled maps in the sand where they anchored

to recall sights of buried treasure

 

I saw myself in that kindergarten window

and watched as my reflection grew

the girl in purple glasses

shed the ribbons in her hair

and traded mary janes for chuck taylors

the knot between her eyebrows deepened

and the darkness in her head rustled its dusty veined wings

sometimes she stopped looking for the animals in the sky

and slowly she forgot the beasts melting into the foliage

their eyes somber as they disappeared once again

limbs becoming knotted branches

voices the sigh of leaves in the wind

 

now the real monsters had come out to play

they leapt from the pages of her books

into the halls of her school

the fragile walls in her home

the face staring in the mirror

tearing at her

claws that bite and rip

until pieces of her shed like paper

scraps of her life floating down like paper mache butterflies

where once stood a girl

a pulsing cloud of fluttering white

she wished things could be as simple

as they once were on kyle place street

 

she had forgotten

she was the epic hero

of her own life story

how could she be?

she had no divine powers

no Athena show her the way

but even Odysseus made mistakes

and the weakest can still brandish

a sword of some sort

for she had virtues entirely unique

and her books were Athena’s in disguise

she didn’t just read

no

she sailed the wine dark seas

she skipped down the yellow brick road

she strangled a demon with her bare hands

she lit a fire in the shadowed belly of a whale

she journeyed thousands of miles

as a thousand epic heroes

and then

.

she was home

 

and to think she saw it all

on kyle place street 

This poem is about: 
Me
Our world

Comments

Megan Schenk

I'm submitting this poem for the #becauseIloveyou scholarship because it is about learning to love yourself and your passions in an otherwise frightening world.