When I was little, my aunt dreamed of daughters.
On the weekends, she would take me,
my dimples and my temper, show me flowers
blooming in her garden: the ground moist,
yellow pansies and sweet peas taller
than my four feet.
I collected garden toads, plucked one from the soil
then another, and she let me place them
in the old tub downstairs, its white walls inescapable.
I laid there quietly,
their little legs finning the water,
the press of ripples pruning my skin.
I was an empress in new clothes. All my subjects