Fighting Words

by Lily Kalczewski 

I wasn’t born out of love
I was born from crosshairs
I was born with spiders on my back
With a radiator strapped to my
chest
From a seasoned maestro who
forgot what words were

From an acrobat who performed for one
though it was never herself
I was born from hot dogs and
my sister’s laughter
From, “no you go first.”
From a staircase with too many steps
From lemonade stands

I was born with the wind
knocked out of me and
too many television shows
I was born from leftover soup
and never giving my full name
From heartache communicated
in a foreign language
layered with lisps
From the need to “get it.”
From no shoes on
bare pavement,
and an abundance of
thunderstorms

I was born
obsolete,
incomplete,
a beanbag chair
without the stuffing,
and only became known
through images
of ink blots

Not until
I understood
that for every no
there is a yes,
and for every zero
there is a countering
one,
did it become clear how
the simplest idea
reveals the most
significant truth

I didn’t need to “get it”
Because I already had it—
the ability to choose

am or was.


Lily Kalczewski is an emerging writer from New York City where she works for Scholastic classroom magazines. She hopes to one day be on the same spiritual level that Jim Carrey is on.