As a barely-blooming girl of twelve,
With freckles and brown straight chin-length hair,
I sat by the pond in my grandparents’ Camelot
And wished that I could talk to animals.
“You can come to me,” I would have said,
“I won’t hurt you. I only want to love you.”
And, I believed, if the animals could only understand,
The small yellow-black birds would sit on my shoulders,
The lean-eyed bobcats would lie at my feet,
And the fat bull-frog tadpoles would swim to the surface
Just to hear me sing.
Now, fourteen years later,
I walk through the tall grass with a kitten on my shoulder.
A lean-bellied black dog follows at my feet,
And a long white cat surfaces briefly from the brush
When I call her name.
I talk to these animals- and they understand me.
And I realize that I got my wish.
Of all the selves I have been,
I think she would have been happiest with who I have become.
Somehow my hair has slipped back into her style.
I don’t think the cosmopolitan me would be pleased with my choices.
The scholarly me would be disappointed,
And the feminist me might actually be appalled.
But she and I both knew that those three were always a little bit silly.
I've always liked twelve-year-old me best anyway.