Winona Linn

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To all those who stole my heart:
I’m going to need it back now.
You’ve had it far too long and I would like to give it away.

So please,
send back what you’ve got.
I don’t care if you weren’t careful.
I don’t care if it’s in pieces.
It doesn’t matter if your baby sister glued macaroni to it, I don’t mind,
or if your dad thought it was an ashtray or your mom used it to level that one short leg on the kitchen table.
It doesn’t have to be wrapped.
Just send it back, post-haste,
I need time to fix it because I would like to give it away.

And to all those who stole my fingernails:
I’m going to need them back now.
I know you liked my softer side but I’m tired of wearing mitts I have blackboards to scare
and backs to caress so please,
send back what you’ve got.
I don’t care if you’ve lost some.
It doesn’t matter if your brother used them as guitar picks, I don’t mind,
or if your house-cat hoarded them because he missed his own claws it’s ok.
I’m feeling forgiving today.

But to all those who tried to steal my voice
when you found me de-clawed and heart-less you better tie your shoes
and give Amtrak a call because I’m coming after you as soon as I finish this poem.

This is not a Little Mermaid situation there was no villainous deal there were no terms!
I’ve already got fantastic legs and I never thought Prince Eric was the best-looking guy everyone knows it’s the stud from Mulan but you went ahead anyway!
Tried to keep me too weak to speak and I’m sorry.

I’m sorry you thought that was possible! I’m sorry you thought you could scare me so bad I’d suck my teeth into my skull and be content to slurp the pulp of your leftover opinions.

You used to nip at my ankles when we went for walks
shepherd me from corner to corner house to house kitchen to bedroom
you thought I was a pair of shoes.
That you had to break-in before you could love but like starfish I can never be successfully amputated. Like prions I am self-replicating. Like ice-nine, I am everywhere and like Wolverine I can rebuild myself, I am the technology!

But there was a time when I was happy to be your houseplant.
Over-watered and under-fed, forgotten for weeks I didn’t mind.
You tried to steal my voice,
and replace it with yours and there was a time when I thought I liked that!

But then you grew stronger, and sure of your strength and you thought I could be dammed like the Colorado River.
Siphoned off bit by bit until I had nothing left no fish, no cattails, no prong-horned deer
but water is patient,
water waits.
And when the river is drained it’s the nasty stuff that remains
radioactive mud and prehistoric eels Pandora’s box is far too kind a metaphor for what you released
one of these days, the Colorado will break free as I did
and we’ll both wash our despots to the sea.

So send me my heart, if you’ve got it and my nails, if you find them,
but to those who tried to steal my voice you should have known you couldn’t win.
Although I will never rise above five-foot-two I have dreams that soar like unclipped
and a voice that stands taller than stilted supermodel giraffes Keeping me down
was always going to be a fruitless endeavour so tie your shoes.
Pack a lunch.
Remember water is patient but only till springtime get your coat,
call Amtrak,
I can feel the snow melting and it’s a beautiful day for a run.

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