Portrait, 1984 | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Portrait, 1984 

Dad says I'll end up a dyke
from playing ice hockey.
And my big brother says a dyke
is a girl who likes other girls.
And I don't like girls at all;
they only play rope jumping
at recess. And Jackie Wightman
smells like fruit every single day.

Sometimes no one can keep my mom
from crying. I think the frying pans
get grease in her eyes when she cooks.
So I always say I don't like anything hot.
It's ok to lie about food, I think.

When I take my bike out into the horse trails,
there are towers that make a sound 
like a baby singing. Only the babies 
are invisible. My Dad says no one
is invisible but God. Sometimes,
I pretend the barn is my house.
Sometimes, I take my bike apart
and put it back together all morning.

No one knows what I can do.
If you won't tell, I'll jump no hands
from the hayloft door.
I made a house out of boxes
in the woods. I could live there
if I wanted, if I wasn't scared
of tree limbs snatching me up from there.
My Dad says trees are alive.
And I think they just might 
do something bad if they could.

-- Stacey Waite


Stacey Waite is a Pittsburgh poet living in Wilkinsburg. Waite has two forthcoming collections of poems from Tupelo Press -- the lake has no saint (winner of the 2008 Snowbound Poetry Prize) and Butch Geography. Her chapbook, Love Poem to Androgyny, is available at Main Street Rag Press. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. on WYEP 91.3 FM.


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