Connecting dots make constellations not lives,
my father said to me.
I’d been growing up vicariously - watching movies,
learning the path to the happy ending just before
the credits roll, asking him, when will boys think I’m pretty?
When will grandma stop calling me a little girl and stop
making me sit at the small table in the living room?
Daddy, do you think I’ve met my future husband,
do you think he loves me already or do I have to tell him
when it’s okay to start?
I’ve never stopped looking for the breadcrumbs
or wishing on shooting stars. I still lie awake and
pretend I’m someone else, living a different life.
The thing about movies is that they’re not guidelines.
They don’t tell you how to get up and dust off
your scraped knees, how to clean out the gravel
from the wounds, or how to tell if you’ll need stitches.
The people in the movies don’t bleed the way we do.
Nothing in the movies is quite like it is without the lens
and eye of a professional to guide it, to show only
the way the light hits things and makes them glow.
Even the shadows aren’t as deep on screen as they are in the middle
of the night when you’re all alone and you’re tallying up all the ways
you might have strayed from the yellow brick road.