Childhood As Palimpsest
There are traces of you as a child each time I
Watch you try on new clothes –
How you bow your legs, stick your butt out, curl
To look like you may have looked at 9 when your mother
Exhaled hard, told you to stand up straight to see
If those pants really fit.
And then tugged at your waistband, to which you
Would waggle forward and back.
Uncooperative as you would be at 10, 11, 12,
Before you became unspeakable.
You are not quite
Worn to that shock blonde boy so often
When you run your fingers wrong
Across the shingles of our house to bring it gently
Down to foundation, before
Carefully constructing the roof back over
everything, how your lips protrude
As if you hadn’t grown into them at all
in 1991 or 1992 during your first year
Away from home.
That childhood is still so curious
Of what might be there
Calling from the edge of the forest
Asking to be raised.
Althea Seloover, 2020