I almost died
with my dog
on the railroad tracks
behind my house
but I didnít.
My dog died
eight years later
the day after
my birthday
she had puppies when I was three
I held them
I love the way puppies smell
like skunk,
but better
I learned early that
big people give you food
and I smeared it on my face.

I killed my guinea pig
I still feel guilty
ten years later
but itís okay
because I have
been to the jungle
in Katyís basement
I made it
And I have a
rock on my desk
from the ocean
it is smooth and round
once I threw a rock
into the ocean
and my dad
made me go in and get it
because it would take
years to get back to the beach
on its own
I always loved to play
hide and seek
I still do
only now instead of hiding
under laundry baskets
beds tables
and behind curtains,
I hide
behind my mask
I hide
my feelings
from the world
well at least
I try to
I talk a lot though
and I write
And once I have
written a piece of me
on to the paper
It becomes public domain
and sometimes I have to
read it to everyone

I have spent
ten summers
wishing on dandelions
I wished for
pound puppy sheets
and pillow cases
and love
I got them, too
but they didnít last forever
the sheets have 
weird little bumps on them
and Iím not sure
where that love went
Once I conquered
the whole school
as a Freshman
and it felt great.

And everyday I see miracles
My friends are all
miracles to me
My dog Gretchen won
rabbit-fur earmuffs
in a raffle
that was a miracle, too
Mrs. McConnell she
is a miracle too
and Ms. Dankel
and every other teacher
who has taught me
because they have all
performed miracles
Mike juggled at lunch
and that was a miracle too

They are all my heroes
my teachers
And my teachers who became
my friends
they will live forever
I will live forever, too
because I put money
in the payphones
and on the sidewalks
for other people to find
and because I spent my whole
Freshman year
working hard to become
friends with Ms. Ludvigsen
My processed cheese
and pepper sandwich
helped me
and it was good
Also I shook Magic Johnsonís hand
So maybe Iím famous
I wasnít afraid
even though he had AIDS
because I always forget
that AIDS scares most people
it scares me, too
the disease, though.
Not the people.

I like to pretend that I 
am perfect
My little sister
hates me for that sometimes
mostly when I am successful
I have purposely hurt her
Iím sorry now
I have been physically hurt
I can still feel exactly
the way my neck got all tight
and I tried not to cry
when my dad forgot me
It hurt every time
I hurt him, too
divorce was our weapon

I can smell rain
I can feel the
street under my bare feet
and my wet hair on my neck
and rain running down
my face
Because one night
I danced in the rain
And once I played
a duet with the rain
on my violin
we played Moldau
which is my song
and everybody knows it.

And though I try not to
I can still smell
my grandma
who is bad
And I can still hear
my parents and sister
yelling at each other
but Iíd rather hear
Shostakovitchís 5th
or John Lennonís Love
or Bobby McFerrin
who has cool hair
and is a god I think

I wear my dadís clothes
I pretend to be
mature and sophisticated
but once I saw a spider
as big as a toad
and I screamed into the phone
so loud that the next day
Katy failed her Chemistry test
Once we wrote our
feelings on a markerboard
and then we erased them
I introduced her to Burtís Beeswax
We visited the Middle School together
it was weird
but we had fun then
and we threw fruit
at some boys together
and we laughed.

And when the crocus bloom
It is my birthday
and I write
And when it thunderstorms
and the air is oppressive
and the moon is full
through the rain
I write
And when I make 
special hot apple juice
and the leaves are
melted crayons on the sidewalk
in my blue cardigan sweater
I write
And when I curl up
in my quilt in front of the fire
with a PBS money-thon on in the background
I write

And sometimes I regret
that I ever started writing
sometimes it is scary
sometimes I write and it is a lie
but sometimes
it is the truth
which is I guess
why I write
I think about why I write
every time a little piece of me
goes on to the paper
and I learn a little bit more
about who I am
and with this poem
I see myself a little better
just as it is with every poem
even the bad ones
and maybe one day
enough of me will be on paper
to make a paper Molly
and she will say
hello, I am Molly
and i will say
me too

6 September 1995

Written for Camille and Rebecca's Multicultural Literature Class