I was a very strange eleven-year-old

Platonic Forms

A small room,
perfectly square
reflecting the edges
of the pink daubed
raw cinder blocks
of which it was formed.

My mother
picked the color.
She was always
trying to imagine me
into more of a girl.

A coat of paint
changed nothing,
the blocks
kept their natures,
their sharp edge.

There were
two windows
set into the walls,
the shape of four
missing cinders.
I opened them wide

so that the pine
needles and climbing,
moon-blooming cactus
could scatter their points
across my frayed carpet.

I liked to watch
the dividers blur
between the in
and outside worlds.

One day on my dog-
led wanderings,
Spot drew me
to a curb so fast
I almost could not
stop my roller blades.

I left behind a rime
of purple break-
pad like the aftermath
of road burn.

He cocked his
curved leg
on a familiar form.
A two-foot
brass eagle
with wings
widely spread.

The kind often
found mounting
garage doors
in the South.

I do not know
why it was there,
tossed like garbage
in that vacant lot.

It was mottled
with solid orange sap,
Fragrant amber already,
the shade of the urine
Spot rained on its breast.

I took it to hand,
and we went flying.
It weighed fifteen pounds,
wedged in my armpit,
but the dogs pace did not tell.

He ran home
so fast my matted
hair raised behind me
like a cape made of flannel.

The borrowed wings
became my own.
I felt them, migrating,
to take root in my spine,
their pinions
one by one,
so golden so light.

I drove a two-inch
house nail
into the crack

between two bricks,
sending paint
and mortar flying.
I hung my wings
between the windows.

My mother tiptoed in
while I was sleeping.
I stirred when my dog did,
startled from our grounded
mattress nest
by the creak of a can
and her own muffled cursing.

She could not remove
the eagle,
could not reduce or altar
it’s essential self.
She had to content herself
painting it white,
blurring its edges.


About Bethany W Pope

Bethany W Pope was named by the Huffington Post as ‘one of the five Expat poets to watch in 2016’. Nicholas Lezard, writing for The Guardian, described her latest collection as 'poetry as salvation'.....'This harrowing collection drawn from a youth spent in an orphanage delights in language as a place of private escape.' Bethany has won many literary awards and published several collections of poetry. Her first novel, Masque, was published by Seren in 2016. Her second novel, Ordinary Lives: The Ballad of John and Mary, was published in 2018. Follow her on Twitter @BethanyWPope

Posted on April 10, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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