i was twelve years old when our next door neighbor
noticed the way my right shoulder blade
stuck out more than the other, like asymmetrical
mountains on the landscape
of my adolescent back, as if an earthquake
had taken place between my bones and no one
had bothered to clean up the rubble.
i was crooked.
i was fourteen years old when the doctor
sliced me open from the base of my neck
to the small of my back like a zipper to reveal my twisted
spine, stretched out my vertebrae
with titanium rods and screwed them into place –
straightened me up, so to speak, but
i came out of the operating room still feeling crooked.
i was sixteen years old the first time you ran your fingers
down my scar, told me how
beautifully they had put me back together
and for once, i was okay
with being crooked.
it's hard to love crooked things and crooked people
with crooked backs and crooked teeth and
crooked souls, but un-crooked you taught me how
and i loved you with all my crooked heart.”