Growing Up

When I was born my father saw a comet shoot through the universe and when it hit the earth he heard my first cry.

When I was one our house was full of cats and art and smoke.

When I was two I put the peanut in the place I saw my mother put the tampon. When I was two I knew the difference between a joint and a cigarette. When I was two I ate a cigarette. When I was two my dad left and my grandmother died and my mother quit drinking and smoking.

When I was three I walked around the house saying, "Where's Daddy?" When I was three I said my first poem: "Lightbug, moon, home."

When I was four I told my mother my angels were with me. When I was four I dreamt their were lions in our yard. When I was four I took all my pictures off the walls because my mother was in the hospital and I didn't think she was coming back.

When I was five the kindergarten teacher took the boys into the closet and pinched their dark brown ears until they turned bright red. When I was five another teacher, a storyteller, the one who saved my soul in elementary school, named me Laughing Rainbow.

When I was six a classmate accused me of starting slavery. When I was six I learned to be really, really nice. When I was six I won the Good Citizenship Award at my school.

When I was seven I told my mother I wanted to grow up to be a famous reader. When I was seven I asked my dad to marry me.

When I was eight I rubbed scraped knees with a friend and we became bloodsisters.

When I was nine we lined our Barbies up along the bed as prostitutes and Ken was the pimp.

When I was ten I wanted to be a grownup and my mother said, "Don't wish your life away."

When I was eleven I played softball and got a perm and wore blue eye shadow. 

When I was twelve I wore a giant styrofoam dragon costume I'd made at summer camp to my first boy-girl party where all of the other girls were catwomen and cheerleaders. 

When I was thirteen I told my mother I was ready to move out and get my own apartment. When I was thirteen I told my mother I couldn't learn from her mistakes, I would have to learn from my own. When I was thirteen I decided that my goal in life was to experience everything.