Our paper house sat
on the banks of the red river
and though mother
wasn't like other mothers
I was like other girls
trapped and lonely
and painting pictures
in the stars. I was slick
with old birth or early longing,
already halfway between
who I wanted to be and who I was.
Our floors were made of flame
but there was no wind
so we were as safe as anyone.
When spring came,
I walked for a very long time
up I-35, and at the end of the road,
I found a boy who placed earphones
onto my head and pumped opera
into my body. I can feel it still.
Underneath that treeless sky,
I was as changed as I would ever be.
Not even mother noticed.
About this poem
"One afternoon, in Oklahoma, when I was a teenager, I sat in a field, and a boy put his Sony Walkman on my head and blasted Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Music of the Night' into my ears. I had never heard anything so powerful. That moment made me completely reimagine everything I believed about art, beauty and possibility."
About Nicole Callihan
Nicole Callihan is the author of "SuperLoop" (Sock Monkey Press, 2014). She teaches at New York University and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
The Academy of American Poets is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization, whose aim is to make poetry available to a wider audience. Email The Academy at poem-a-day[at]poets.org.
(c) 2015 Nicole Callihan. Originally published by the Academy of American Poets, www.poets.org. Distributed by King Features Syndicate
Our paper house sat
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