I inherited my bedroom from my brothers, boys of another time, so tall and high
That stern gods peered down from their crew-cut hair.
On the wall,
George Washington kept crossing the Delaware with his men,
Like the Last Supper aboard a little military boat.
If I threw a coin,
It would turn to a star,
Then a bird;
It would drop enough feathers to make a fine hat--
I would board a locomotive train to St. Louis,
And visit 1904,
The first girl to do so
When I closed my eyes,
I saw the canopy bed I'd seen in the Hudson's catalog,
And armies of stuffed animals in rows;
They would say they had never heard of George Washington,
Or the British,
Or the ghost in the basement
That only I seemed to know was there.
My room was never mine--
Cleaned within an inch of its life every couple days at my mother's unhappy hands,
And by (her forbidding, joyless) god, it had better stay that way.
I would take out my puppets my grandmother had made for me
--Barn Boy and Pretty Horse Puppet--
And they would say,
It is a fine day
Full of apples and hay.
Oh, mother, when you stood in my doorway like bad news on the way,
Looking at small me on my Indian blanket bed with horses on my hands,
Was it because you heard the hoof beats
Of us running away across the plains
To an invitation-only joy
That only I could see?
Thank you to Rene for reminding me