I grew up sure
that I had a soul,
thinking I had one, but
there had to be
some essential me.
Did me disappear
like sugar in coffee?
Did me go into sliding
where keyboard clicks
can’t decipher it?
Or did it put its hand
above its head,
walking out slowly,
waiting to be shot?
In seventh grade Annie Winkler
told me the secret to popularity:
It worked for her until she kissed
Keith McKintyre. Popularity set
her hair on fire and walked away.
I wanted to be popular,
a birch tree with leaves looking up
to my tallest branch, fluttering
as each says I’m wonderful.
Dad cut the tree down,
said it should’ve been a maple.
I needed decades to be fine with being
someone you see in a mall
I heard Keith overdosed. Facebook laid
status update wreathes on his page,
a little pink
smile above brown hedges.
When she slips on ice on the way
to her car, she breaks her ankle.
Cold, everyone’s boxed indoors
except for Mrs. Ott who often
cleans her living room window.
Wandawoowoo and she argued
about dust floating
from Wandawoowoo’s yard into hers.
Wandawoowoo tries to drag herself
back to her door. Mrs. Ott watches,
laps a vanilla cone, her eye caught
between Venetian blind slats—
Wandawoowoo’s hoarse voice
lost to snowy evergreens
and helpless mailboxes.