[b]Don’t ask me to play Uno[/b]

I saw my dog’s eyeball on the ground this morning. Okay, I didn’t but my brother did and he was so upset that he cried. He’s 10 and a big boy and isn’t supposed to cry so I knew I had to stay in the car. Mom hit Diamond with the car but I think he was okay. Diamond is our dog, and boy is he smart. We taught him to play Uno this morning. He sat outside the window of our house and we set his cards up in front of him and he points a paw at the card he wants to use. He gets it right usually, but he is a beginner you know and so I win most of the times when we play.

Diamond walks to the bus stop with us every morning. This morning Mom went to school with us because she was going to talk to my class, so we went in the car instead of in the bus. I like it better when Mom drives anyway because there’s this kid down the street and he has a crush on me and he follows me around and bothers me and my brother and his brother tease me about it. I tried to tell him to leave me alone but boys just don’t listen. My brother says I’ll end up marrying him, I know I won’t.

I don’t know where Diamond went. When I got off the bus this afternoon he wasn’t at the end of the street waiting for me. He usually is. I called and called for him and then I figured he must be out in the field. We have a big field in our yard and I like to play in it. My brother says a monster lives there, but he only comes after 8 year old blonde girls named Renate. I don’t believe him, of course, I’m not dumb, but I let him think I do. When I was 5 he told me the car would come alive and eat me, I believed him then, I was such a child. I’ve grown now though. I still like to do the things he does so I try to keep him happy. Once we wrapped my Barbie doll in newspaper and set her on fire and then buried her. I didn’t know why we had to bury her, my brother said it’s just what you do. I figured it was so Mom wouldn’t know we had destroyed her. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but Mom found out when I told my aunt about it and got mad at me. My aunt asked how I was enjoying the doll she gave me for Christmas and I told her I enjoyed the fire best. She hasn’t given me Barbie dolls for Christmas anymore which is good because I hate the things. I want more Transformers, but they say those aren’t girl toys.

My brother said that Diamond’s eyeball was on the ground. He’s going to need his eye so I’m going down the street to find it. How’s he supposed to see without it? I can’t understand why everyone seems so upset. My brother is crying and says I won’t see Diamond anymore. I told him of course I would, -I’m- not the one who lost my eye. He just looked at me and kept crying. Mom came in and told me that Diamond ran away. I’d run away from this place too. If he’s not careful my brother might try to wrap him in newspaper and set him on fire. If you see a dog with one eye running around the neighborhood tell him that I love him. Tell him I’ll let him win at Uno if he’ll just come back and play again.


Age 4
I think I can fly. No one has told me anything different. I hold onto the rails of our stairs and leap three steps at a time. I fall, go tumbling down and smash into the concrete. I get back up and try again. I know I can fly if I can just get the timing right. My mom combs her hair into her face and puts her glasses on over it. This causes me to run and hide every time. I’m afraid of clowns and Santa Claus and Mom when she does that but not of flying. I watch the sky for airplanes and birds for hours. I watch the clouds. I believe that will be me someday. I know I can fly.

Age 5
I think my younger brother should be the one to fly. Running out the door to check the mail I knock him off our porch. He falls 9 feet and gets up laughing. I go into hysterics. I still think maybe I can fly sometime but wonder what would happen if I tried to and fell like he did. On my birthday, I open the car door before the car stops and tumble out onto the concrete. I’m beginning to think I’m clumsy. Clumsy people shouldn’t fly. I get a balloon but it escapes my grasp. I pitch a fit until they promise me another one, just to shut me up. It works. I think the car in our garage is going to come alive and eat me. My older brother tells me so and he wouldn’t lie. I make him go in there with me every time I need anything. Maybe airplanes eat people too. I begin to wonder if flying is such a good idea after all.

Age 7
Every time my dad is supposed to visit, my brother plays tricks on me. I still think he won’t lie and so I believe him every time he tells me he sees the car. I go running outside. I trip and fall over my feet. A piece of plastic cuts into my leg. I can see the bone and I poke at it. Mom tells me not to. When she’s not looking I poke at it again. I’m not afraid of blood.

Age 8
I get a bicycle for Christmas, but when I try to ride it, I end up in the briars. I don’t try again for 3 more years. I play with transformers and matchbox cars. I still like airplanes. I make them out of Legos. Mom yells every time she steps on the ones I leave in the floor. I climb the trees in our yard and pretend I’m a bird. I’m not afraid of anything, except for the monster in our field. My brother tells me it’s there and he wouldn’t lie. My dog dies but I think maybe he just flew away. My younger brother’s description of the body doesn’t give me much hope though. Every time I have to go to bed when I’m not ready, I think about flying. I’m in my first spelling bee. I think that there may be something I’m good at and I practice all the time. I get out on an easy word because I’m nervous in front of an auditorium full of people.

Age 9
We live with my grandmother for a year. There is no flying. She makes me wear dresses when I don’t want to, but I love her anyway.

Age 11
A friend tells me, I’m the ugliest person he’s ever met. I wonder what my enemies think. My self-esteem plummets. I think it’s going to crash. I let people copy my homework so they know that I’m worth something. I receive 13 awards at the end of the year graduation from elementary school. I tie for the highest academic average. My mom and step dad are proud but I don’t really care. Airplanes aren’t on my mind anymore. My youngest brother is born. I have three brothers now. My second brother tells his class that we named the baby M.C. Hammer. They are suitably impressed. Patrick seems like a common name compared to a name like M.C. Hammer.

Age 13
I think I’ve forgotten how to fly. I have no self-esteem. I don’t speak. I have a few friends but I think they just feel sorry for me. I get lost in books instead. I watch Star Wars over and over. If I can’t fly, I can watch people who can. I’m in love with Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. I think I’m ugly. My older brother tells me so and he wouldn’t lie. I cry but only when I know he isn’t paying attention. I tell him I think he’s uglier and he has a big nose. I go to my two-year-old brother for comfort. He loves me. He thinks he can fly. I remember when that was me.

[b]Two sides of the same coin…[/b]

I have been the hunter
I have been the hunted
I’ve tracked down men with
the reckless abandon of a
she wolf in heat,
lusting after their hairy, fur
covered bodies
and their howls of ecstasy
as I sucked them dry.
I have been pursued,
coaxed out of hiding by
sugar-coated words:
“I’m not going to hurt you.
It’s okay to come out.”
only to feel a gun poking
in my side.
I have run in circles,
howling at the moon,
getting nowhere,
my frustration
dripping like spittle from
my mouth and
sticking to my sweat coated fur.
I have fought battles with my heart.
I have run away into
hiding and licked my wounds
until I felt it was safe
to come out once again.
I have poked my snout
into places I was not
ready to handle yet.
A paw into a snake’s hole,
I have learned from experience.
I have faced death and come out on top.
I have raised my paw as a symbol
of truce one minute
and maliciously torn into flesh the next.
I have given myself over to these primal urges.
I have been meek as a puppy
and fierce as a protective mother.
I have sought out a quiet life,
yet I have been sucked into a wild pack.
I have lived for myself.
I have lived for my brothers and sisters.
I have served a dual existence.
I have turned a smiling eye in your direction,
masked a heart full of pain.
I have loved the feeling of
wet grass under my body.
I have rolled down a hill
only to end up covered in briars.
I have searched for one who notices both sides of me.
I have curled up in a corner
and covered my eyes with my paws.
I know the beauty of dark, damp places.
I have hidden from people knowing
they only cause more of this pain,
but now.
now I hold out a paw
and wait for you to take it
knowing things can never be as they once were


First, you must understand
this all happens for a reason.
The baby bird
pushed out of its nest
by the hand of GOD,
the squirrel
that lost its home,
evicted by an angry tornado,
the raccoon
that fried on the power lines
but took the power with it for a couple of hours,
the mother
who stares into space
is asked what is wrong and says nothing.
You must understand
that everyone in the world is happy.
The man who just lost his baby,
left her on top of the car
and can’t find her now,
still smiles at Seinfeld.
The woman who begs for money,
is content on the street
but needs it to pay her Internet bill,
hums a song to herself.
The kid who failed a test,
lost his dog,
and yells at his mom
goes outside to play ball.
Finally you must understand
that none of this matters.
It’s words, on a page,
fucking each other and fucking the world,
thrust together
by a girl who played
with words instead of Barbies.

[b]What I should have said[/b]

please forgive me
if i can not always speak
and as you watch and wonder
if it was something you said
know that it was
please do not ask me what
or strive to make things better again
the damage is already done.

by Renate Moody (c) 2002
([email]renate [at] poetryuprising [dot] com[/email])

[b]Author’s Note:[/b]
Renate Moody lives in Roswell, GA with her husband. She graduated with a B.A. in English in 2001 and now seeks the perfect life and career. Until she figures it out, she contents herself with writing about the search. More of Renate’s work can be found on her web site at [URL=http://www.poetryuprising.com]www.poetryuprising.com[/URL]

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