All I Wanted Was to Grow Up: A Poem
09.03.19

Below, the winner of last month’s Writers Club prompt: Does growing up have to hurt?


All I wanted was to grow up.
I wanted large womanly hands, long legs,
A low voice, a laugh buoyant and sparkling.
To be a woman who had things people needed:
a bandaid, a sweater,
a story, love,
that was what I wanted.

No, I never had growing pains.
Me and my body
couldn’t grow fast enough;
My knees became my mother’s,
my feet became her mother’s,
my nose became a stranger’s.

“Wise before your years,” people said,
and I believed them,
hastening towards maturity,
wisdom, fertility, ripeness.

No, I never had growing pains.
The pain came later,
when expectations soured,
dreams gone stale crumbled.

Still so much a child. Eyes closed, I can see her still,
my invention—the woman with everything.
Her capable hands
tend to things, grow things, they hold things,
things people need.

At night she sleeps. I lay awake,
thinking of her.
No, I never had growing pains.
Now, though, I’ll admit,
I do.

Feature graphic by Dasha Faires; Photographed by Louisiana Mei Gelpi 

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