This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Callista Buchen, is from Pelted by Flowers by Kali Lightfoot, released by CavanKerry Press in 2021.
I was 12 and wanted to learn to play Schumann’s “Träumerei”
on the piano. We didn’t have a piano, and I couldn’t even play
“Chopsticks,” but like composer Robert, I wanted to sit on the bench
with Clara Schumann. Well, actually I wanted to be close
to Katharine Hepburn, who played Clara, and the piano,
in Song of Love. That year I also wanted to waltz barefoot
with Deborah Kerr in The King and I, comfort Ingrid Bergman
in Anastasia. And I imagined June Allyson’s husky voice speaking
to me alone. I wept, dreamt, and had a crush on my counselor
at summer camp. Watching July Fourth fireworks with my best friend
Madeline, I offered to stand close to keep her warm, and laid
my trembling nonchalant arm across her shoulders.
A gut-twisting sense of wrongness warred with my pleasure
of touching her body. I stayed away from her for all the next day,
rode my bike to the library, and for the first time felt afraid of myself.
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