Angela Costi
My Signature

At first, the cowering scrawl gave away my too few rights
showed me up for the girl
wearing long socks in a zipped-up uniform
with a case of too many pencils, not enough pens
then I began to skip, one, two, eighteen, thirty –
counting out those childhood years
well before I drove into the rare night
left the language of small steps
in their tight corners
took my I.D. to help loosen my tongue
voted for all the noble losers –
my name escaped for me
fast and furious it spun
internal circles of stress
on grown-up forms for useless things:
a Casablanca hour-glass coat,
dark Onassis glasses, a black beret
money from Daddy for Mummy's pressies
which I secretly wore
I skipped now using only my fingers
made clones of their loopy lashed names
bed became my new desk
city streets my new school yard
caught trains to towns where I could hide outside
met strangers who pressed into my flurried curves
wanting more of my flippant dotting, casual crossing,
the way my name rode on the cusp of the world
wearing passionate ink with hardly a smudge
all my consonants long legged and willing.