Children learn subtext even as they read
those first few sentences of family.
They’re angry, there is something wrong with me.
Shoelace I can’t quite tie; door-knobs that need
grasping in some way I don’t know. I talk
too soft, too loud, too musical. My chair
rocks when I giggle. Hold my teddy bear
as if it were a doll. Learn to stick a cork
in everything I like. And when they burn
a book for telling lies that were half-true,
I watch the flames too hard. The things that grew
in me were all a subtext in their turn
I learned to hide, lie better. Found in shame
home more myself than face or given name.