Poem: One of Many People

 

One of Many People

by Shannon P. Laws

I have been was
a second grader in 1976
My hair was long
my skin was tan
and someone gifted
me a turquoise ring

Looking back I don’t
remember having many friends
but I was happy and free
and in love with my world

I built a comic book
reading fort in the
garage rafters of our
9th Avenue home

It was a room by itself
It had a clock radio
a small, warm lamp
cushions and blankets
for me and the cat

I read
Dynamite
MAD
Marvel and D.C.
and the spooky “Believe It Or Not” comics

I miss that girl

Puberty and the 80’s were
crouched around the corner
ready to pounce
ready to pound me into another person

It will never be 1976 again
I’ll never be that long haired girl again

 

Me, 2nd grade, cu from classroom photo

 

Dynamite, issue 25, July 1976 “Space 1999 takes off!” An American pop culture magazine for children 1974-1992

 

Poem: Fort Builder

I am a fort builder of cushions and sheets
I stole the plywood from the garage and nailed it to the tree

I am the girl who spattered lavender paint on her new jeans for school
I am that one

I am that girl who made extra money picking berries,
babysitting, and watching cats

I was that girl who carried her gaming marbles
in a purple velvet Crown Royal bag at recess

I am the fourth grade girl who, it was rumored, picked up
Rodney Grange over her head and threw him down the hill

I am the girl who endured long Sunday drives
second hand smoking with you and Paul Harvey

I am the girl who walked with you around the muddy edge of Doyle Pond
It’s soft cat-tailed ground rewarded us with leaches

I am the girl who watched you deal pills of all colors
in between our classes from your locker next to mine

I am that girl who had no cliques to sit with at 8th grade lunch
I sat at crowded tables in 9th
I found stairs outside to eat on in 10th
I drove off campus in 11th
I no longer cared in 12th

I was that girl who wore her gray leather boots everyday

I am that girl you shared stolen apricot brandy with
at an Auburn dance club parking lot one night

I was that girl you had between the ones you wanted
That neighbor girl you thought you had to trick to touch

I am the girl who builds forts

***