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In the dryer. I could see a wide circle of my mother’s apron. She pretended loudly not to know I was there, and finally reached in to tickle me. I tried to slam the door on her arm in my joyous panic.

 

In the niche between my old bed and my bookshelf, with six Playmobil knights and my meanest plastic dinosaurs and my feet perched like happily frightened rabbits on the air vent. The black knight usually befriended the Tyrannosaurus and won.

 

Under the Rte. 29 footbridge while they ran on above. Trolls must be incredibly confident people to yell out things like that. It’s dark and full of echoes under bridges. In my most secret moments now I can imagine being a troll. The key, I think, is not to consider trollhood at all.

 

In the security stairwells at the famous Mall in Columbia with a bowl made out of a toilet paper tube and aluminum foil spangled with pinholes. We always burned our bowls when we’d finished. That kind of cardboard doesn’t leave any ash. There were three exits from every stairwell, and the guards were never smart enough to cover all of them, even when they knew we were there.

 

In Steve’s plastic dorm room across campus when my new life-long intimates and fellow scholars knew something true about me. I had thought I could hide in Chicago, a place big enough to let me forget I was hiding, but nonetheless I wound up more and more often with Steve, who still listened to Dio. I still like to sing operatically once in a while. Try singing this poem operatically to maximize its effect and your own generous empathy.

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