Labels poem

with thanks to Ellen Stackable who offered an invitation to write around “labels that I wear” today for #verselove at Ethical ELA. She began the reflective prompt with this: “Think about the labels that other people have placed on you throughout your life. Imagine these labels as tangible objects, peel and stick name tags that one-by-one stick to you…”

I don’t do well with actual peel-able labels, at all. We do not get along… here’s where this line of thinking led me today.

For Day Twenty-Five of National Poetry Month

Label Liberation

Labels
never stick to my clothing
as they’re meant to

the edges curl up
to snag my long hair
pulling out strands

the whole thing
scrolls into itself
obscuring whatever pronouncement
of who or what I am
to any given audience

funny how I just now recall
a nametag, long ago
when I was four or five

visiting a Sunday School class
at Grandma’s church
I think it was in the shape of 
an animal
maybe a fish
not sure

attached to my new
lavender-and-white
checkered dress

with a straight pin
until

I threw up, without warning
and was rushed to
the commode
where my nametag fell in

I cried for it
and was told
it doesn’t matter now
it is ruined

the teacher was much more concerned
over my stained dress

but that was my identity
being flushed away 

a facet of myself,
lost

so now I wonder
if my offended little-child aura
decided then and there
that henceforth, 
no label should ever
stick again

that would explain a lot

which could never fit
on a finite piece of paper
anyway

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