Sister Mary Margaret! I remember you
with gnarled hands you taught me
the smallness of my heart.
By the first day
in black-tricked mass
the nuns had schooled us
on what we had yet to defy
eyes still teeming
at seeing doors to first homes locked
without our sleeping bodies inside
we learned our bodies
we wore them
not for us, our shapes
did not belong
we didn't know how to mourn
yet and only learned why
fences must surround houses
some doors stay locked
we could never live
as ancient as sequoias
as liliputian as ladybugs nesting in prickly grass
as wild as santa anas stampeding through canyons.
You introduced me to hard stinging wood
my place in history
byway a singular, simple word
chosen for its brutal exactitude
of parameter, a disciplinary measure
in itself: "NO."
And I stayed in that chair in that classroom
in that small town in California USA.