XV.

The first films or videos I ever saw (besides what I glimpsed in Walmart) were animated Disney films, which we watched occasionally in first grade. Every now and again, we were allowed to watch one half of a film. If conditions were met, the following week we’d get to watch the second half. Behavioral bribery…

XIV.

Besides its competitiveness, the reason I chose Yale was because their website said they would meet “100% of demonstrated financial need.” As my financial need was 100%, that sounded pretty good to me. Competitive and philanthropic? This was my school! Done and done. Even sending in the financial paperwork required me to sneak into my…

XIII.

Today I walk through the city I love, this city that welcomed me. Myths and ghosts and scraps of stories long forgotten lurk on every corner, in every starred panel of sidewalk. I wake up and dream of the ones I love. I walk through space and space makes room for me. I ask for…

XII.

Later on same day I gave my poetry ‘speech’ in front of the middle school, a boy approached me in the library. He was blonde. He was popular. He was very pretty. He had tormented me for years, mostly about my looks and my clothing. It wasn’t just him, of course: a whole group of…

X.

When I was 16, I took a summer class and become a Certified Nurses’ Assistant. It was the best way to make above minimum wage, which at the time was $5.50/hr. I was hired at a fairly nice, fairly expensive nursing home, specifically to work in their Alzheimer’s and dementia unit. Working with Alzheimer’s and…

IX.

Her mother makes most of her dresses, and the rest are secondhand. A classmate asks her a question. She doesn’t understand. It could be a matter of language. It could be a matter of culture. “What?” she replies. He repeats his question. “What?” she asks. He changes his question: “Are you deaf?” She doesn’t know…

VIII.

A five-year-old girl-child. Sensitive. Shy. Her clean brown hair is neatly parted and braided into two braids. Colored barrettes pin down any would-be stray hairs. She speaks very little English. German, the language of God and church, is her first Sprache. English is the language of “the world”. She does not live in “the world”.…

VII.

In seventh grade, the rules for speech contest changed to allow students to write their own speeches. I put together a ‘speech’ out of my poetry. And I performed it in front of the junior high. ‘Performed’ is excessive. I recited it. One of my poems was very emo. “When I’m gone don’t mourn me…

VI.

In fourth grade, I got chicken pox. I was so, so sick. In and out of delirium for days. While I was sick, a classmate (and second cousin) died in a freak accident. My class found out while I was ill. They mourned and grieved together. I was at least partly outside of time, and…