Oh, I like this story. Watch this.
The woman with the cornsilk hair is Sharlene
but now she is changing into her shadow self.
You can tell when she puts on her red lipstick,
throws her head back and laughs maniacally.
The story's been done -- good self, bad self,
but I like this one. The other self isn't evil,
just more fun and assertive. She gets to wear
better clothes and earrings. The other self
gave all of Sharlene's clothes to Goodwill --
the cardigans, the practical shoes. We could
all wish for such a productive blackout.
I have given my shadow a name. She
doesn't scare me so much anymore.
I used to think that let loose she would
stand up in churches and shout, ''I am
the bride of Satan,'' or down Wild Turkey neat,
change her name to Free and, leaving no trail,
take off for Montana with a biker named One Eye.
In fact, she is satisfied with so little -- dangling
earrings, anger and the roundness of the word, ''No.''
Yesterday I siphoned water from the pool cover.
Over spring, birds had dropped tiny red worms
among the maple pods. As the water receded
the worms writhed in the sun until they dried
into bits of thread. Not one went along easily.
It is the same for my shadow. Even my arms
get too heavy to lift until the shadow
breaks out with her rage. She is getting stronger.
Colleen Hoffmeister is a student at the University of Baltimore. ''Shadow Self'' won the Eleanor B. North Poetry Award of Sigma Tau Alpha, the international English honor society.