What I Didn't Want When I Was Twelve

I didn't want hair with body and wave,
that simply curled up when I tried to iron it flat.
I didn't want my stomach to stick out
when I looked at myself sideways
in Woolworth's window.
I didn't want Michael to like Linda
or William to like Patsy.
I didn't want Troy to like me.
I didn't want my big breasts,
or the bra that cut red furrows
in my baby fat.
I didn't want to have a baby
like that eleven-year-old girl
in South America.
I didn't want to miss
an episode of "The Monkees," ever.
I didn't want to become a nun,
go to Africa as a missionary, or die
a martyr for the church.
I didn't want Dad to come home drunk
from his Thursday night bowling league.
I didn't want Dad to come home drunk
from his Friday night baseball game.
I didn't want Dad to come home drunk.
I didn't want him to threaten Mom
when he came home drunk.
I didn't want him to hold a knife to her throat
and threaten to kill her if she said one more word.
I didn't want to be twelve
and know what it's like to lie in bed
and worry about Dad hurting Mom.
I didn't want to know what the future held
after that night, after Dad was sober again,
after I was twelve years old.

Nudge: Pick one age from your childhood and make a list of everything you didn't want. Don't regard anything as too superficial, funny, or serious. It's fine to focus on one area, such as physical attributes, social life, school days, or whatever was happening on the domestic scene. Shape that list into a poem, memoir piece, or blog post.



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