Poem - “Esther, Playing House”

Whitney Rio-Ross

She learns what to want

before she finishes the alphabet –

B, boy. She needs to L love one of those.

Mother is M. Like M, she’ll be a wife.

She doesn’t know that letter,

but it must mean being wrapped

in white like the B bed sheet

she can’t wear on Halloween.

No, a girl (that’s G) means being wrapped

in glitter. Glitter turns G into a P princess.

Boys dress however they like,

but one told her they all carry swords

(S, same as snake). He kicked

playground pebbles at her shins

and yelled, “So we can get you!”

(How can U be P princess?)

At night, she places her favorite doll –

B again, beautiful – inside cardboard

walls, forehead balanced against

sliding glass doors. (No one

can always stand on tip-toe T.)

She’s ready for nightmares – N, like nothing.

She sings her letters, spells a world of wishes

(she should learn that letter).

She’ll keep up her P practice,

become P perfect.