Into a silent house with orderly shelves
With the big gesture
And a book of ghost stories--
Getting into my mother's jewelry and crowing,
"I'm a star!!!"
You couldn't shame it out of me.
I made necklaces from rain drops--
And where the wooden fence met the back of the garage,
That was my plantation
Where I bossed my puppets about
And no one demanded a sensible word all day.
Chokecherry wine is bitter,
And while I loved the odd scent on Daddy's breath when he picked me up and held me,
Bottles are never becoming for a lady.
My movie goes on and on
And I have survived,
Though Daddy and my first love didn't.
Always, growing up, I insisted
That I had a missing sister-twin
And demanded to know where she was.
Now I have found her.
She is me.
Living is a sketchy business,
And I'm sorry for the ones I have had to leave behind;
But when I lay my dreams out like fancy dresses,
Put them on and call them poems,
I'm a star!!!"
And you can't take that away from me.
Photograph: Tracey Power as Mary Pickford. Last line courtesy of George and Ira Gershwin.