Awakening, Years Later

When the gym trainer

gets to cool down, plays

Moon River from the mix tape,

you are standing alone on

the gym stage in your blue dress,

hands jerking like disjointed

robots as you savage notes

you insisted on singing from memory

to the accompanist’ valiant efforts


so in the dark we sat

in silence, clapped at the end

tittered later, unable to match

what we’d seen and heard

to words like courageous

fearless, unique  or that

other mantra that bound us

wanting to fit in


no one ever explained

your multiple disabilities

or why someone thought

the fix would be to throw

you in with the bunch of

us at that boarding school

so far from home to which


your people rarely came

and we didn’t know what

to do with you except to

watch as you were tutored

in all the same subjects

we were taking Home Ec,

History, Math. We could

only measure by how

you fit into Saturdays

when we went to town

volleyball games, the odd

girl out in a six-bed dorm


yet you were a beacon

through the years, indelible

on the lens of my mind as I

taught myriads of students

who were equally courageous,

fearless, and who desperately

wanted to fit in! You were a

heart breaker, and sitting in

that darkened auditorium

that night, we just couldn’t

couldn’t see your rainbow.