A Crib Can't be the Hands We Need

I am a shape shifter,

And there is no page in a dictionary on some dusty shelf for that.

I was an idea in my mother's mind before my father even knew what love was,

And then I was a baby in a wooden crib my grandfather insisted on buying me.

I then changed form to a 9-year-old who watched the hands of her father that once held her reach for alcohol instead

How were those the same hands?

They had changed shape too but the body was the same, like some convoluted magical spell

And then I became a 7th grader

Using words I didn’t know to describe feelings I didn’t have

For a while I shifted into a stranger to my own being

Occupying a hollow body that wanted nothing from me and had nothing to offer

And then the stranger went to high school

And learned that everyone else was a stranger too

And I found that everyone was a shape shifter because there is nothing like the fear of staying the same forever to make you change

So we changed together

And we fought together and learned together and leaned on one another when our next form wasn’t always so clear

It was during that time I learned the idea in my mother’s mind was not what I had to be

And that a crib can’t be the hands we need

And I carried that 9-year-old on my shoulders until she was strong enough to walk by herself

I learned the words, and picked only the ones I needed

I felt everything crash over me and raise me into the Great Big Something a dusty dictionary can’t describe

My body became a temple that housed a spirit which only knows that it knows nothing

I became a reflection of what I was and an idea of what I wanted to be

I am a child when I argue

An adult when my friends need help

A high schooler perpetually living as though it’s Senior Year

And a small cog in the wheel of the Great Big Something

I am a shape shifter, combiner, joiner

A mover and a shaker

A shape shifter 

This poem is about: 
My family
My community
Our world


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