I don’t know which of my parents promised you a “polite young lady” for a granddaughter,
but you should probably ask for a refund.
Because I remember, seven years old, Thanksgiving dinner,
you said to keep my elbows off the table
sing-song of Mable Mable so strong and able
good enough to have manners but not to occupy space
the way my little cousin did while he scarfed his food next to me
his elbows almost in my mashed potatoes
and while he shoved second and third helpings into his wide mouth
I sat with my napkin in my lap and took “polite” bites
and did not eat a second helping because by the time it was “polite” to reach for the food
I was no longer hungry.
The next week at your house
I cemented my elbows to the laminate tabletop
trapped my napkin under my plate
and ate more chocolate cookies than anyone would deem “polite”
while your ancient body quivered with disappointment.
I would apologize for never remembering if the butter knife sits to the right or left of the plate
but I have no need for knives when my fingernails are claws
and my teeth are a sheath
for the wit-sharp silver-bright sword of my tongue
forged from the iron in my blood and purified to unbreakable steel
by the fire in my eyes.
My bones are made of dust
from the body of a dead star
that grew and grew and grew until it could not occupy more space
and exploded across the galaxy;
a supernova glows under my skin.
I am not a “polite young lady”:
I am a goddess born from the death of a star
and divinity is my birthright.
I wonder why you don’t shine as bright as your silver-white hair.
Maybe as you grew you doubted your right
to take up space
and so you faded,
but I promise I will not do the same.
I will continue to burn bright
and so you can turn away
or watch me shine.