You tried so hard to be good, turning
the shower on when no one was home,
brushing your teeth so inaudibly
that even standing in the hall with an ear
pressed to wood, no one could hear you.
The sun could not freckle through you,
but each morning you pressed your palms
against the wallpaper as if you might
one day slip right through into daylight.
Once, you went so long without laughing
you forgot how to start altogether.
You watched one scary movie per year
to insist you knew how to be brave,
because you knew you weren’t
transparent enough to pass through
when those hands came spoiling at night.
Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello is the author of Hour of the Ox, winner of the Donald Hall Prize for Poetry, and co-translator of The World’s Lightest Motorcycle, by Yi Won. A Kundiman fellow and NEA fellowship recipient, she is a program manager for Miami Book Fair. Visit MarciCalabretta.com.