We Used to Tiptoe Into Rooms (poem)

We used to tiptoe into rooms

When you said it was safe to come inside

We sat in soft circles

Stripped our speech of verbs

We weren’t going anywhere anyway

You asked to see our pretty smiles

But did not ask to hear our words

They broke our teeth apart

Trapped inside our mouths

We swallowed the gravel quietly

Oh there you are

You said

I guess I did not see you back there

We laced our piano fingers over crossed knees

To keep them from dancing

But you could never stop that one tippy toe

From tapping

And then we learned how to barge into rooms

Our kneecaps scratched up the mahogany

We did not take off our boots

We left mud on the rug

We spoke and the words crackled and snapped

You turned your head our way

Who is that?

You asked

Have we met?

We learned our elbows are sharp

Those angles can hurt

We got angry because sad got us nowhere

You declared it was not safe for you anymore

All that air we breathed in

did not leave enough atmosphere

for you

We threw back our heads and laughed too loudly

because we have always known

the sky has no ceiling

And when our throats turned ashy from shouting

When we grew tired from all that elbowing

When the bumps and scrapes began to bleed

We took apart our long, muslin skirts

Piece by piece

We fashioned medic tents

We gathered inside and started a fire

We shared the same warm air

We let our feet fall out of our shoes

And our hair out of pins

And the mystics among us spoke of a place

Where we will one day glide into rooms

Not because we are angels

But because we belong

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