the door opens and shuts faster than i can wash my hands
hopes pinned to a cork board, viciously stick around for 3 to 5 days
and enter my body; enter my lungs
am i dying or is the world my world just collapsing around me?
“stay away from me” posted to my forehead
but my stomach craves attention, certainty
be gentle with me. nature is healing
but humans are dying from this
as well as other diseases, as well as other afflictions,
as well as other tragedies building on each other
instead of staying 6 feet away
how will i tell my children, robbed of normalcy
that things are even worse
that now it’s airborne, that now being stuck at home
means being stuck in a cold war zone
if they don’t wear masks they might get hit
if i don’t wear a mask i might get sick in front of them
droplets hang in the air a little too long
i wait to tell them a little too long
by then we’ve already got the dry cough
fever burning up our house and it’s walls
and we must stay
stay home stay in an abandoned wreckage until it’s safe again
to go outside
we lay in bed and tell each other
which forests we want to carve
our names into, which branches
we hope to knock down, or grow into,
which places we want to make our own
money, our own homes, and our own.
I tell you I don’t know - you tell me you don’t know - we go on to tell each other all of the things we think might be the things we know.
I trust you. and I have to trust
that you trust me to do the things
we lay out on maps. to follow
and veer, and when the engine stalls,
to let go.
I told him, “We’ll have a corgi and a husky”
and you told me, “Plan A is to become an astronaut”
and I tell them over and over
thank you for letting me stay the night.
something universal about the way we share what we want to do with other people. something universal in trusting in this whole process and forgiving yourself when it goes wrong.
i want someone to read my dirtiest thoughts
and not be scared
or pity me
i want empathy
while i spit blood and *** and sweat and pull at ingrown hairs;
while i tell you i’m not sure why i’m alive
while i tell you i’m not sure anyone loves me
while i tell you i’ve had dreams about you exploding,
your insides spread across the living room walls
in some kind of strange irony,
i want you to be as sad as I am
but lovely enough to pull us both out
i want to be saved
little by little
person by person
word by word
secret by secret
until i know longer feel like you would run if i told you i wanted you to run,
or if i wanted you to stay;
until i no longer have anything horrible enough
to scare you away.
I wonder what it's like to have arms
that don't feel like weights dragging
in the sand, leaving creases in everything
you've touched, or stumbled past,
trying to reach some place where
the ground is solid,
not liquid beneath the soles
of our feet, constantly changing
and challenging us to meet the day
and certain immediacy of choices,
all of which will inevitably cause you
to leave or to stay.
I wonder what it's like to forget
where I've been and focus on
where I am now; I wonder if I'd be happier
or even more lost.
I walk around like an open wound
without the vulnerability; walls
around the sore but nothing to help
My chest feels heavy.
My back feels heavy.
The weight of you is heavy,
almost as heavy as the weight of my own arms.
I sit and hold my grandmother
in the shape of a small pillow on my bed -
they turned the dress she used to wear
into covers for all of my family's grief
and all of human need for things to stay close.
Her dress matches my bedsheets,
so it seems almost too fitting for her to be here.
I know grandmothers are grandmothers,
but they've always been people before that,
and maybe pillows afterwards.
I have a lot to do before I die,
and a lot more people will probably know me
and at least a few more people will probably love me,
and I don't wear a lot of dresses but,
I hope I will compliment the color scheme of your bedspread someday. I hope I will fit as easily into your life as a she fit into mine.
for roberta, and anyone else lost.
there is only so much time
for night bugs and spring peepers
bullfrogs and late creepers
hidden in the beams that shape
the back porch of my heart.
there is more time left
for whatever's left
when I hear a joke
or read it somewhere
in the vast expanse of
words and sayings and stories,
I see you hiding
in the punchline.
You nod your head,
you force a louder chuckle
than you need to -
I know how hard it is
for you to laugh with me,
but I also know
that this punchline
was the glue
that kept us stuck.
even with you on the other side
I can hear your laugh
in a bad joke
we would've loved.