What was left out


I wrote a poem
about where I’m from.
A friend asked what I had left out.

The time
that my childhood best friend’s boyfriend
we’ll call him Ian
because that was his name
(and when you are mean to a writer
expect to be mentioned by name)
called me fat
and pushed me into a snowbank.

In grade 7
I became friends with
Sarah and Pauline.
We had sleepovers at Pauline’s house,
she lived close to school,
and listened to Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell
and a Rod Steward album with a plaid cover.
We danced on the couches,
ate cheezies and coke
and no one told us to go to bed.
Pauline died of cancer last year.
I never got to tell her that
her friendship
made me feel
like myself.

When my grandmother died
I couldn’t sit in the front row
at the funeral
in the wooden pew where the family
was supposed to sit.
My Aunt thought I should sit there anyway
but my Mom said I could sit
anywhere I wanted.

The way light lands
in Florence, Italy
at five o’clock in the afternoon.

The high school students
with whom I have worked,
mostly Grade 11 and 12.
Caught in that ragged spot
between teenager and adult.
Yesterday, I saw a Senior at Starbucks.
She gave me a chocolate covered date
from a visit to Abu Dhabi.

I want to say that I’ll cherish it
forever but the truth is
I ate it with my cafe latte.

{The original poem is here.}

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