Tuesday, May 27, 2014

At my desk

When I sign my name 
to the graduation cards I will send the young 
achievers in my life,
I think a moment on my own 
cap and gown, blue as the Spring Missouri sky 
that afternoon at Grandview High.
My family not present, mother not able to stand
the sun, her Army wife nerves too raw, 
too keened after five moves in four years
with my soldier father 
who bunks in our house but doesn’t 
make eye contact.
In my family, graduation 
from high school is a duty 
not an achievement so there will only 
be ice cream and cake after dinner.
Still, I walk off the green lawn, my diploma 
rolled and ribboned in my hand.
Its power pulsing through palm and fingers.
Thin paper with little physical weight
holds a transforming energy.
I see myself at the portal of another world,
as if I'd been living in a cage and now 
the hatch has flown open and I can wriggle 
and heave myself out, shake myself awake 
with a wild cry.
I am now in charge 
of myself.