Trying hard to understand the woman I became
by looking back to the girl I had been.
Pretty but never popular,
always on the outside looking in
at the pageant of wonders I believed those cliques to be.
Exquisite people: visions of petite blonde fantasies
and strong-jawed desire with dark, careless locks
falling across their cheeks.

Money in their pockets and themselves on their minds,
they took no notice of the quiet, shy girl who never spoke in class.
I doodled character names and plot lines
instead of flowers and unicorns and pot leaves,
while teachers spoke on subjects with no relevance
to the veracity that was bearing down on me:
The vehicle of life was a dark carnival ride of
freakish wonders and black, guilty delights,
with all the bolts loose and the attendant blind and deaf.

The crash was inevitable.

Oppression (don’t speak don’t think don’t disagree).
Don’t deviate from the path laid before me by my
biological origins who could not manage to
see their way beyond their own brutal despair.
My youth raped, my potential aborted
by their narcissistic ideals of The Great American Family.
Too many choices, too many ways to screw up,
too many blind alleys on my map of life.

Too bad.

I painted myself into a corner of desolation
until I deemed I’d chanced upon the One,
the golden knight, the champion of my cause.
But I had no foundation upon which he could build that castle,
and his quest took him to distant lands
to vanquish his own enemies and tilt at his own windmills,
an American Quixote with no demonstration of honor, respect,
or dignity.

Yet …
Life has a way of building when one isn’t looking.
Hope will tunnel through brimstone rock
and sail salty seas of persecution and plague,
to come at last to the golden shores of acceptance.
Peace like a melodic fragrance pervades
the quintessence of Me.
Still on the outside looking in,
but no longer enamored of that delusion.

©2008 Sharon Gerlach

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