I made daisy crowns and dandelion necklaces.
I climbed trees with my knees scraping bark
to see what was on the other side of my neighbor’s fence
or down the hill, or off in the distance on a sea of treetops.
I drank water from the dog bowl to see if it tasted different.
I tried cat food to see if they liked things the same as me.
I wove elaborate stories, like plays,
that I repeated until I had them memorized
then performed them to blank-faced audiences of dolls.
I became a mosquito scratching relative legs until they sprayed me away.
I watched from my window, every day through winter to see the first robin of Spring.
I dashed wildly, madly through the scented Autumn leaves.
I splashed loudly in puddles
when I didn’t have on rain boots and when I did.
I drove a pedal car up and down the sidewalk in front of my home;
Mine was green, my brother’s blue.
I rode my bike as fast as the wind
skinning the ends from my toes for riding barefoot.
My baby doll became a real child needing care
right down to being walked in a baby buggy, pampered and cuddled.
I sang songs when there were people around
and when there wasn’t.
I wore the brightest clothes I owned with pride
but refused to wiggle my fanny at school for embarrassment’s sake
foregoing the envied bunny tail.
I dreamed of long hair like my favorite Aunts
but my hair was wild, unruly, and never behaved appropriately.
I played race car with the electric socket and a key
learning just how many people I could scare at one time.
I saw my world as beautiful, wondrous, and awe-inspiring.
My memories have not been muted, although faded a bit,
Dog-eared around the edges, notated and rewritten with crayons
reversed into a parking spot reserved for each one.
I take them out and drive them around adult conversations
but they get dismissed as comical fancies
disapproved of as childish rubbish.
But they’re wrong.
My childhood held many terrifying horrors.
I don’t think these wonders I hold in my memories are comical or rubbish.
They represented my soul unfurled like a battle-worn banner
proclaiming my liberty from my aggressive oppressors.
They were a time of exploration, learning, and comprehension.
They were and are my life boiled down to the simple things
that so many struggle toward, but I hold dear to my heart.