Another Kind of Normal

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When you’re a child

Everything in your world is innocent.

The flowers,

The other kids in your class,

The trees,

Your favorite toy,

Your parents.

 

When you’re a child

You develop your own kind of

Normal.

You assume everyone’s father

Drinks alcohol every morning

With you while you

Enjoy your juice box and lucky charms.

You believe it is socially acceptable

For your mother to be shoved through

Glass doors and

To tell family members her

Bruises and leopard-like

Patterns that flooded her

Fragile body were “nothing.”

 

Everybody’s mommy

Had that.

 

When you’re a child

It is normal for

You to wonder why other

Children look different than you do.

As you get closer to your

Double digit ages

You question why your

Skin looks different than the rest.

Why others tell you

You can’t play on the

Monkey bars with them because

Your skin is darker than theirs;

So you wait until they’re gone

To enjoy the playground

And especially the monkey bars

So you can hang on and

Swing from bar to bar

Developing calluses on young palms

And pray for the courage to hold on,

 

By yourself.

 

When you’re a child

You start to develop your

Own schedule that’s

Completely normal to you.

You wake up,

Pass your daddy

Grabbing mommy by the hair

In the kitchen

And swallow your tears

While standing in the doorway

With your Powerpuff Girls lunch box

And little red bows in your hair

To wait for mommy to

Take you to school.

You get shoved in the

Sea of wood chips at the playground

For looking different

And sit in the dirt

With wood chips in your

Curly hair and one

Of your red bows torn,

Demolished in the brown sea.

You come home

Excited to see daddy,

Hoping he will only throw

Three empty

King Cobra bottles at you today,

Not four like usual;

You just learned

Numbers last week.

You stare at mommy as

She’s tucking you in bed

Asking why one of her eyes

Is closed;

She tells you a

Bedtime story to explain

How she slayed a dragon

To save a princess

Locked away in a tower

And mommy got a booboo

In the process.

 

Then,

 

You wake up.

 

When you’re a child

It is normal for

You to enjoy having your friends

With you at your tea party,

But you wonder why no one else can

See them,

Only You.

You go every day thinking

The nice guys in black uniforms

And cool stickers

Were going to come over

And join your tea party;

Thats what they did last time…

And the time before…

And the time before that…

And the time before that…

You question why

The other kids in your class laughed

At you when everyone else’s

Daddy came to class

But yours couldn’t,

So you wrote a small

Story about how you visited

Daddy on sunday

But he was behind a glass window

Wearing an orange jumpsuit

For fathers day.

 

I thought everyone’s daddy lived behind

Glass windows and wore orange jumpsuits?

 

The process goes on

Until you grow up thinking

This is the social norm.

That everyone’s mother

Weeps on the floor

As she pleads

“It won’t happen again.”

That everyone’s father

Slurs their words at 8 am

While stumbling through the house

With a forty ounce

Clinging from his fingers

On his violent,

Bloodstained hands.

That it is normal to have

The authorities in your home

Three to four times

A week.

That it is okay for others

To shun you due to

Your skin color.

That it is okay to be shoved

In the dirt or

Tripped in the hallways

For looking different than the rest.

That it is normal

To go home hoping

You will be able to

Dodge the flying beer cans

And empty liquor bottles

Because you were able to

Do it once,

So try again.

That it is normal

To hope that one day

Your eye will be shut just like

Mommy’s so you

Can be just as courageous

And live to tell the story

Of how you saved the little

Princess from the dragon

To your children one day.

 

And as a child of this earth,

this is your own kind of normal.

Guide that inspired this poem: 

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