Provenance, Mary Ruefle

In the fifth grade
I made a horse of papier-mache
and painted it white
and named it Aurora

We were all going to the hospital
each one with his little animal
to give to the girl who was
lying on her deathbed there
whose name I can’t recall

A classmate with freckles perhaps
or such small feet her footsteps
never mattered much

I did not want to give her anything
It seemed unfair she got to ride Aurora
whom I made with my own two hands
and took aside at birth and said go
while I had to walk
perhaps for a very long time

I thought perhaps the animals
would all come back
together and on one day
but they never did

And so I have had to deal with wild
intractable people all my days
and have been led astray in a world
of shattered moonlight and beasts and trees
where no one ever even curtsies anymore
or has an understudy

So I have gone up to the little room
in my face, I am making something
out of a jar of freckles
and a jar of glue

I hate childhood
I hate adulthood
And I love being alive

—Mary Ruefle, from The American Poetry Review, in The Best American Poetry Review 2011


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