When I was eight
Tammy's parents got a divorce.
I didn't know what it meant,
but we rode the swings at recess
and she told me
about a spring break holiday to Disneyland,
sunset postcards and pukka shells,
a brand new banana-seat bike.
When I was nine I learned the truth
about slamming doors, squealing tires,
and suppers so silent
I was afraid the air would crack
if I breathed too loudly,
about leaving my best friend Lucy,
my yellow and white room,
and above my window
stenciled in green,
my name, Aileen.
It was like not getting invited to a sleep-over,
being picked last for volleyball, or losing
my sketchbook on the bus.
It was all these things
on the same day,
Illustration by Krista Mason
Read by Karen Hakkarainen