V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




No surprise to them, good teachers and parents, how far
I went to get attention the day

my sister was born:  I, the always-
obedient one:   I, of the faithfully good

grades, and never a trouble-
maker.  But how

could they, always right, not know I hardly could wait
for her to come home from the hospital?  How could

they know I was trying my best—
good little puppet—to do

what I’d been told: clean up whatever it was before
starting something else?  From under my

silent skirt the silent puddle widening, widening,
rings of a tree on that shiny surface growing

all the way to the alphabet blocks that took
years too long to put

back in their box.  Resigned to fate and the principal,
true again to form, I followed her into the ever-

mysterious teachers’ lounge, where she washed
my panties, spread them over the heater and settled me

into the nicest chair of all to wait for her
return from the library: arms full of all the books

she could carry, more than anyone could
possibly read in one

short afternoon. 
Which was not

true to the form I’d come to know as Authority.
Every grownup, from that day forward, layered.


© by Ingrid Wendt


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