by Julie Brooks Barbour
Girl Becomes Ghost
I could not convince other children
I existed. I was a specter who
punted the ball only a few feet
as if a strong wind moved it.
When I sang in the classroom,
the teacher thought my voice
another girl’s, even if I belted notes.
When I grew older and a man claimed
my words too quiet, I became angry
and slammed a door. He thought
a gust forced it shut. I wanted
to become loud as thunder
and darken skies, make people
run for shelter. I heard only
my breath, the softest sound.
Mouse at the Door
Everyone grows taller than me
and wears accomplishments like costumes,
parading in their finery. I wave my small flag
at each procession. I walk home in the dark,
notice my footsteps make no sound on the pavement
while the footfalls of others echo down the street.
I am barely tall enough to unlock my door
or turn the knob, and cannot grip
with such small hands. For an hour I consider
my insignificance, mouse at the door.
I find a crate for reaching and gloves for grasping.
It is a minor accomplishment. I name it mine.