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The Year I was Harriet

the year I was Harriet
I could do math
and was bossy

that was third grade
and there were two Karens
so I turned into Harriet
who was my grandma
and my middle name.
chin thrust forward
I stood up in that room
and the numbers
clicked to attention
I wasn't fooled
by them anymore
their squeaks
their chalky tongues
their carrying on.
all that year, brassy,
I was wild horse, holding my own
reins loose, knees tough with scars,
taking the ground for granted.
my elbows stuck out to the sides,
my glasses gleamed with fake
diamonds and purpose.
I stuck my head under my desk
and ate grape jello raw
right out of the package,
then peered up, bloody purple.
when Mrs. English shrieked,
"oh lord what now?" I just
bared my bright teeth
in a weird, brave smile.