By Cynthia Cruz
Awkward, and almost always the idiot
Savant, mutant, retard, I
Travel my own effervescent weather,
In my underwater
Vessel, my sweet
Mars, and soundless
Daydream, magical sweep of Rimbaudian
Clumsy, and guileless, mind-
Blind, and deathly shy,
Winning every spelling bee,
Every math contest,
Done before the rest, finishing
First in science test.
Hiding the quarterly honor-roll awards
I won beneath the bed.
The shame of being
Seen consumes me.
And I fight it back,
A landowner warding off
Leagues of feral thieves,
With fire, handheld torch, burning back
The onslaught. In grade school,
Listening to the same Blondie song in my bedroom, over
And over for hours, days,
For years. No friends
But the one: silent, and sitting
In my head. Running laps around
The house for five, ten, fifteen
Calories of everything put
Into my mouth—desperate to ward the onslaught
Off. Until I am nothing
But a body.
Burn the body down
And, with it, out goes the pilot
Blue light of the mind.
I was pretty back then.
Maybe, way back then,
Before I began.