Clover: “On Being Lucky, Or Not

Let’s be honest: I have never been
particularly fond of my mother,
with her soft white skin
and her crushing hugs, intent on
swallowing me whole.
let’s be real: even my father
gets on my nerves sometimes,
because he doesn’t know it but
there’s such a thing
as being too laid-back.

my parents named me clover.
I think they were hoping for a strong,
beautiful daughter, with daddy’s height
and mother’s green eyes.
they were hoping for a lucky girl.
they named me clover orchid johnson,
and expected me to be anything but unlucky and plain.
too bad for them.  I wasn’t.

no wonder angelo will never talk to me
except on this ferry, and even then
only out on the deck,
where no one who matters will see as
the cold air bites our necks, our cheeks—
everything we’ve made the mistake
of exposing to the winds.

he won’t say a word to me at school,
or as we wait to board,
but once the “danger” (what danger?)
has passed, we talk endlessly,
filling all our 22 minutes and beyond
with chatter, with “how was your day”s,
with us.

sometimes, I hate the ferry.
I hate watching as things come into view—
either destination dooms me.
I love the crisp air and the wind, though,
and I know they love me too,
from bluish lips and pinkish cheeks
and hair that takes ten minutes to brush later.
I love the sight of the sea, spraying
as the ferry slices through the waves.
I love the sight of the wake.
I love the boy who stands next to me
in his old red jacket and ripped jeans,
watching everything with me as the waves turn and crash.

my too-soft, too-laid-back parents named me clover.
they were hoping I’d be lucky—
and in everything but what I see on the ferry,
I’m not.