i am not the girl who wins. in the humid days where we sit around the table at my grandparents house and play cribbage, i am not the girl who wins. even in the games of hide and seek i love so dearly, played in between meals in summer afternoons, i am not the girl who wins. “your little sister is a firecracker” they say can they see how they break my heart with those words? “your little sister is trouble” they say and there is love in their eyes and they look at her like she’s the sun yes, she’s a firecracker, maybe but i always thought i had fire in my veins, too. and my little sister beats my father in board games and i’m not the girl who wins. and maybe it is this that is the foundation of the melancholy that has settled so deep in my soul it got stuck and now won’t come out. when it rains i think yes- come cleanse me, soak down, down, down into the rotten bone. make me clean. because i am not the girl who wins. people shake they’re head and me and say “you always were such a quiet girl, always dreaming” and yet it is said as an insult, something made to burn and they turn from me as if i bore them, because i am not the girl who wins. by the warm fire with la vie en rose playing a room away, my father's sisters are drinking hot chocolate. my mouth is frozen shut. i want to make them laugh and tell me i'm wicked but their eyes glaze over when they look toward me, with my head in the clouds and my mouth too heavy to open. and for years for years i have been hidden behind the old linen couch in my grandmother's house begging for people to take another look to come and see "look at me," i want to say, "i am also a fire" and our world loves the glittering people, but i am not the girl who wins.