I can say it.
I know what it means.

When I say it I am beautiful.

the doorbell rings
a gorgeous sound

I run to open the door

Gladys, you look gorgeous!

She turns cold, dry, ugly.

Little girls don’t use words like that, she tells me

No, little girls will never again use words like that…
words that sparkle and shine and are filled with love.


oh, I need to tinkle
reallly bad

I just have to get home.

it hurts so bad.
I am going to wet my pants.

Oh, I can ask Gladys if I can use her toilet.

I ring the doorbell.

hurry please, i am bursting.
Gladys, I need to use your toilet.

she is standing in my way, telling me I am bad.
You should go to the bathroom before you get on the bus, she says

Oh no, I am tinkling down my legs.

There is a puddle on the porch.

A puddle on the porch.

It’s tinkle, my tinkle.

my wet everlasting shame.

The Veils

The First Veil

a doorbell rings
Gladys stands in the doorway
I stand in front of her

I have something to give
She shames me for giving

My heart is crushed
and a veil falls

The Second Veil

a doorbell rings
Gladys stands in the doorway
I stand in front of her

I need help
She shames me for needing help

My heart bursts
and a veil falls.

Lifting the Gladys Veils

Doorbells announce
Doorways either open
or close

Gladys closed my doorways
to parts of my soul

I open them now
sixty years later

I teach others
mysterious words
and their meanings

I give others a sacred place to release
the pain they can’t hold back for
one more minute

I ring bells at the doorways of souls.

Thank you, Gladys…you’re gorgeous
and so am I.