Growing Up

In fourth grade
my classmates thought I was a very good person
and wrote letters to the writers
of the newspaper our teacher 
made us read
telling them
what a good person
I was.

                         (They wrote a lot
                         about the things I did
                         to help strangers
                         and about how I’ve made
                         their mothers cry and
                         want to hug me.
                         They didn’t write about
                         how I looked at
                         Carly’s test
                         one time.)

In fifth grade,
the boys
liked to talk about
my chest.
Apparently
I had melons
and the other girls 
had grapes.

                      (I thought this analogy was dumb
                      and I slapped Trevor in the face,
                      and people stopped writing letters
                      about what a good person I am
                      but didn’t stop
                      talking about my chest.)

In sixth grade,
my new friends
thought I looked very nice
in my neon pink skinny jeans,
and their mothers
thought 
I was a very good influence.

                    (but I was trying to be like them,
                    so their mothers
                    made me feel
                    like I wasn’t quite
                    so cool.)

In seventh grade
my new friends
were calling me things
very far away from a good person
and my old friends
didn’t like being second best,
so I became friends
with teachers
and music.

                     (Someday
                      I will learn
                      how this works)

In eighth grade
I almost lost
everything.

                     (I thought
                     it would teach me
                     how to be
                     as independent
                     as I told people I was)

I am looking
at my childhood
and trying
to find
the part
where I 
grew.

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