Precocious but impatient, that one, they said; and sought
to tame the impetuous streak glimpsed in my nature
with well-chosen books, orders to stay indoors despite
the clamor of play that children my age raised
in the neighborhood. It didn’t help that frequently
I fell to a host of incomprehensible afflictions:
daily nosebleeds, wheezing, welts and hives from eating
the simplest things no one else gave a second thought to.
From glazed windows I watched as children dragged
an empty packing box to the top of our street,
took turns getting in and pushing off so it scraped
and hurtled down, sped toward its imminent falling apart.
Sometimes this image is what comes back when I’m asked—
Whatever were you thinking, getting married at 18?