Rude Awakenings
by Donna JT Smith
or grown
mostly between,
– dolls barely dusty –
some assume I’m older
my father fends off suitors
who think they would be suitable
mom tells me they only want one thing
this ballerina performs her swan’s song
dancers are wispy, lithe, slender and long
my body conquers long and wispy
lithe and slender lie under curves
cat-callers, oglers whistle
mom teaches me to go
to a stranger’s house
reach for the knob
pretend that
I’ve touched
I walk fast
when I’m alone
I watch for next doors
my musical chairs game
I will not be caught off-guard,
without a chair when music stops
in storms any house is my safe port
I stake claims passing each musical house
I wonder what I’ll tell stand-in parents
in Fairy Tales: Chapter Seventeen
“I’m Goldilocks, I mean Alice…”
I would have been a dancer
but those dreams exited
I simply must find
my safe entrance
don’t worry
I’ll reach

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My high school senior picture, taken when I was 17.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: There is such a sense of not really knowing who you are when you are 17. Butterflies have it pretty good. They leave as a caterpillar and come back grown. But for us, the view from childhood to adulthood is constantly being adapted and changed in your morphing state. We have to travel the road to grown up. It is probably why I like Alice in Wonderland so much. I began writing an Etheree, then decided to continue with a reversed Etheree. Seeing the form emerge, I realized a Quadruple Etheree with two reversed Etherees would be a perfect form to illustrate the poem and give it the “shape” I wanted — either way you look at it.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Donna JT Smith retires on the blue-green coast of Maine with her camouflaged husband, and their yellow dog and white cat. She has recently taken up motorcycle riding and owns her very own shiny red Honda Shadow Aero 750. Most of Donna’s poetry may be found on Mainely Write and in her self-published collections, Winter Ways and The Fall of the Leaves of Fall. She has a pantoum, called “The Missing Mother’s Message” in The Nancy Drew Anthology (Silver Birch Press, 2016) and a palindrome-haiku called “Black Cat at Night” in The Best of Today’s Little Ditty 2014-2015 compiled by Michelle H. Barnes. .