four: love in rhyme

I am seven-years-old.
My teacher is reading my story to my new classroom,
my words to their first audience.

She has the same birthday as myself.
I know because we also shared the day with the first of school.
We celebrated together on stage,

and I held myself in her shadow and basked in song.

I hate the spotlight
but I love my teacher.
This reading is the type of grown up reward
that feels like punishment.
Hers is the type of love shower
I could die in, drown in it.

I am drowning,
and sitting under my desk,
waiting for it to be over,
holding my little breath
so that I will have still have something left
when the spotlight has taken everything else.

The classroom cheers.
They think it’s helping.

Theirs is the type of love that feels untrained,
all that noise slaps against my skin,
and my words look sideways at me
where they are left, ignored,
in favor of watching my tear-streaked face.

I hold a little breath in and smile.

My deskmate asks why my characters speak in rhyme,
and I tell her it is because rhyme is softer.

Hers is the type of love that
snaps with curiosity.
She doesn’t understand soft.

Softer than stages,
softer than birthdays,
softer than claps.

Mine is the type of story
that feels like poetry.

Mine is the type of love
you might not notice.
It feels like rhyme,
and holds its breath,
and hides under desks.

Mine is the type of love that
reaches out to your love,
always trying to make space for it.


The prompt for this was a true memory written in present tense. This is day 4 of poems that I never really got figured out.