Over, Not Into

dedicated to S.E.

I used to step into
many things.
The costumes others sewed for me, insisting
they knew my size, my style, my true form.
I wrestled with the flopping ears
that fell into my soup, and I dragged
that goddamn tail behind me, fifty city blocks twice daily, because
they said I should, because they said
everyone else was doing it, because they said
I should be grateful. Look at the effort they went to.

Even though
I never asked them to. Even though
their gifts were so heavy. Those gifts I never asked for,
wanted, or needed.

I used to step into other things. Houses
that didn’t welcome me. Rooms
that made space for me only
resentfully. My very body, my very existence
a cause for dismay and reproach, a drain
on the world and a leech on life.

Even though I was sent the invitation,
and it had my name on it,
and all I did was show up.

I don’t step into things any longer. I’ve transcended space
and identity.
The things I’ve discarded lie leagues below
my outstretched wings. I can barely see
their decaying remnants
composting under my toes as I curl them into the warm
soft sweet universe.

Once those things would have been
stumbling blocks. It’s hard to remember
why. Why they had power. Why they
meant something. They are so
insignificant now. It’s hard to remember
who I was before I found me.
My wings beat the air and I lift
from the ashes.
Over, not into,
I fly.