Carolina Morales

Allowed to choose again, she’d christen me
baby Tabatha, mother proclaimed.
She loved the name, and, hey, you could say
I was kind of a witch. But let it be clear,
mother dear was no sweet Samantha,
though just as many schemes roiled the seams
inside her sleeves, threaded with jealousies,
ambition, an obsessive/compulsive disposition
with a smattering of ADD, some of it passed
down to me, who as a child began to realize
my true potential.  There was the episode,
mom insisted I be placed with the gifted kids,
though all my test scores spelled out
a different answer.  Snout twitched into more
of a snarl than wiggle, she faced down the vice
principal, and there I was, snap of the fingers
in Mr. Higgle’s advanced class, where,
let’s face it, I was too dumb to contend.  Slumped
in the back row, stewing resentment, humiliation
with applied concepts of retaliation aimed
at the baffled teacher who simply ignored me,
I muttered curses, maledictions, conjured
a wish list of afflictions to befall him. 
And when word came the man beloved
by his brightest pupils, revered by colleagues
and staff, left for home after last class, and hung
himself from an attic rafter, I stumbled
from school, lungs constricted, legs buckling
into knotted ropes, throat choked with shame,
sat in view of the TV’s canned groans, wrote down
the name of our favorite show, crossed out
the E’s, the W, the D, and renamed myself.

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