She crouches, hands wrapped around knees.
    She rises, unfurling and stretching, hands pushing out.
    She ducks her head and fights the day.
    Always it is a scramble to the top,
    Knees and elbows not used to pushing,
    Developing their calluses.

    Once there was a bubble, veil, cozy eiderdown,
    Sweet-smelling blindfold
    That covered her - comfortable, deceptive –
    It took years, months, and days but
    She scratched at it, tapped, peeled
    Experimentally, and then at last
    Reached her fingertips through and punched,
    Threw herself against the cushioned walls
    Her parents made for her, her friends, her lovers,
    Teachers, police, television, books –
    The frames they made and she reinforced
    With the mortar of her nods,
    The fabric of her smiles.

    Walls splintered, groaned defiantly
    As they broke with sounds like trumpets
    And discordant chimes, sending flutters
    Up her spine, through her trembling hands.

    She stepped through the wreckage,
    Dust clinging to hair,
    Feathers woven in fingers,
    Paint dripping down legs,
    Some shadows of the long wait
    Still written in her eyes, indelible.

    Then she crouched,
    Hands wrapped around knees,
    Skin almost too luminous
    To hurt so much, so soon, so surprisingly.
    Sunlight blinds but disinfects.
    She learned this quickly.

    Unfurling, stretching, hands pushing out,
    Wearing a memory of dust, feathers, and paint,
    Shadows still written in her eyes -
    She sometimes remembers those walls with a sigh,
    Wishing to lean back, to know ease,
    To trade black coffee for sweet cocoa,
    Blazers for parkas, all-nighters for bedtimes.

    They’re lost. She knows this:
    There is no lost and found for the walls you rip down,
    No glue that can fuse them again.
    They are sold, a trade for soaring, blossoming.
    In the warm old memories there is confirmation That she was destined for this glittering.
    Rising, unfurling, she tries, And her star will blink out before she’s ever done.


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