the pieces she lost and found

i was the cartwheel kid

happy birthday ballerina

it was eight that year

i wore barrettes

i remember that much

my hair was long and heavy

and i read

but i could never

get to the

get to the

get to the

next line of text

the barrettes pulled

my hair pulled

oh how it hurt

it drove me crazy

but i turned a cartwheel

before bed that night

woke up

my brain exploding


what is this?

doctor’s offices …

there is a strange disconnect

in my mind between

her before and


the same, i know

yet not

if a tiny vein

had not burst

i would not

be the girl

the woman

the human being

i am as i sit here

writing this

for you

who would she

have become?

that’s the part

i lost

she’s no longer

my story —


but not