(A little something to mark the end of summer, originally posted September 2009)
That’s all I ask.
I know I’m the same size
As the girl to the left
And the boy to the right.
I know there are rows of pigtails,
Just like mine.
Nothing special about freckles.
Nothing new about inside-out clothes.
I know I look like them all.
You look like them all, too,
With your head way up there
And your hip way down here,
Spotty hands pushing up glasses,
And your pretty shoes I wish I could wear.
I’ve seen wrinkles like yours before.
Nothing new about what you’re saying to me either,
Or the way you’re saying it.
Have we met?
I didn’t think so.
You’re not my first, you know.
Not the first to try to chat me up,
Not the first to make me stiffen under your long, strange arm,
Not the first to raise an octave when you bend at the waist,
Not the first to think my size sums me up.
It’s highly suspect.
I’m not Everykid.
You’ve been smiling at baby teeth for many years;
I’ve had mine for only five.
Sorry if I don’t smile back pretty for you.
And if I don’t say hello very loudly.
And if I don’t blurt out something cute.
And if I don’t clamber to get close to you.
But I don’t think we’ve met yet, not really.
Just so you know,
I’m not the shy kid.
I’m not the quiet kid.
I’m not the nervous kid.
I’m not the lonely kid.
I’m not the sad kid.
I’m not the cuddly kid.
I’m not the sappy kid.
I’m not the bad kid.
But I could be, here and there.
I am the adventurous kid,
The untrusting kid,
The moody kid,
The broody kid,
The silly kid,
The monkey-bars kid,
The desperate-to-be-liked hold-back cryer,
The kid who hates being instructed,
The kid who loves to learn,
The kid who can spin a great yarn.
Here’s a little secret:
I always save the best for last.
Broccoli precedes pork chops precedes mashed potatoes,
Socks precede underwear precede twirly dress.
I like to end on a good note, with a nice taste in my mouth.
And I don’t know where to put you in the order of things yet.
Please don’t decide yet where to put me either.
That quiet voice and tentative smile you got today?
Not for long.
THIS is me: