Gabriella Alziari


My mother calls me 

a jack-in-the-box,

for I cannot stand still

No such thing as 

staying in one place:

instead, I seek adventure 

New rooms and retreats,

endings and beginnings —

places to hide,

the distant glow of sunlight

seeps into my room,

pinned to a quiet corner

I am everything at once, 

the best chameleon there was: 

the underbelly of darkness, 

a taste of rooftop skylight

Within my soul is Bila, 

the goddess of the sun: 

with fat lips and a tight throat 

I cough back the tears,

clean myself off with a rusted rag 

for yes, I can 

still shine 

My mother calls me 

a jack-in-the-box

I am springing to life, leaping for life,

or so 

she tells me 

I taste shock and surprise

as I cross 

the final hurdle:

to barge through the trapdoor, 

to plunge my way out of the dark

and greet my counterparts  

with a smile