Later, they will tell me I didn’t smile for a year. They will tell me that I look like her, that I move like her, that I sound like her. They will tell me, in not so many words, that I am her daughter and so I cannot be anything else. I know none of this. I am six years old and my universe has been torn up and spat at my feet.
They will tell me that she loved singing and baking and gardening. That she was a queen in one and a goddess in the others. That she moved like a dancer. They will tell me, with closed-lip-smiles and tantrums in the vegetable aisle, that she has laid my future out for me. That no one could compete. I am eight and I know this.
They will try to tell me that my voice is that of a songbird’s. I am ten years old and I do not sing. They will try to tell me that the world greens at my touch. I am twelve years old and I do not garden. They will try to tell me that my bones are young, that I shouldn’t be hurting. I am fourteen years old and I do not tread lightly.
They will try to tell me They will try to
They will try
They will fail They will fail as I have They will fail as I have stopped They will fail as I have stopped listening I am seventeen years old when I claim my birthright. My kingdom blooms. A spatula is my scepter and my sword is a ballpoint pen. My cape is a choir robe and its folds rest like wings at my back. And I ascend, limping, with a crown of Devil’s Ivy on my brow.