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Gabi Feb 24
Here in Minnesota we know a true winter,
know the cold that crystallizes in sheets
over your shoulders like a desperation
to be felt. The stars drop ice across my face
and it hurts because of how much I love them,
and they don’t stop until I do, and I think I
miss when they were so far away that I had
to squint just to see them. And I say that,
but here they are, and I can’t let them go,
and my face is growing taller by the minute and
all this ice is starting to crack my skin. Right open,

peeled like an orange. You peel me open, and you
make me not make sense but you make me make
more sense than I ever have in my life. The snow
makes the whole world a barren white horizon, and

all of these footprints are yours.

I am a desperation to be felt;
I see my breath in the air,
in the winter, and it makes me
feel a little more real. Like,
look at this, the world knows I exist.
See the way the air curls?

I know I exist when you look at me, and all of the
hard lines in my body turn soft. When you look at
me and all the words melt, and I wish they
wouldn’t, I wish they would stay and mean
something. I wonder if I will ever look at you and
not feel this breaking apart, slow and quiet and
sweet. Birds, singing on a winter morning, when
everything else is dead or hiding. Singing. The world,
buried and silent under blankets, and birds. Singing!
And the sky in the really early morning, shades of
pink like summer couldn’t even dream of. The kind
of sky you stop your car for, the kind that makes
you forget how to breathe for a second. That
reflects off the ice and makes the ground glow
and the headlights look brave, hangs in the air,
gently, even after it’s gone. Everything fresh snow.

All of these footprints are yours,
do you get it?
They will always be yours.
Gabi Dec 2018
growing up, my mother would smile at me and
i’d feel the weight of a world i’ve never known
settle itself around my shoulders, unfamiliar but
warm. i think i’ve been realizing in increments
how different my life has been from hers, in ways
that my parents don't talk about much but that
i’ve pieced bits of together, broken patchwork
in the shape of my mother. a person, emerging
from the dust of the things she has overcome.

she wasn't allowed to go to her father’s
funeral. she was getting her citizenship
figured out and they told her that if she
left the united states she couldn't come
back. my father went in her place, said
her half sister’s son invited him to go to
the ******* when the ceremony was
over. when my father talks about that,
i think it's the most disgust i’ve ever
heard in his voice. is nothing sacred
anymore? and my mother closes her
eyes and sighs. nothing new.

she moved to california when she was in her
twenties, took with her the things she loved and
carved a life in dirt that smelled of the american
dream; opportunity. her relationship with her
family is difficult in a way i don't think i’ll ever be
able to really understand, and despite everything,
she loves her father. despite everything, she misses
the philippines, and the way she talks about it
makes me almost miss it too, a faraway homeland
that was never my home. it’s tangible. she speaks
in that voice that means she is remembering a life
lived millions of years ago and i open my mouth
and taste ocean air on my tongue, hear the bustle
of street vendors calling out words i don't understand,
see my mother in her schoolgirl uniform walking
slowly and squinting sun out of her eyes.

life has thrown her out to the curb more
times than she can probably count, and
you wouldn't know it. she came to america
in hopes of finding a happiness i’m not sure
she's found, and through everything, she is,
unequivocally, the strongest person i know.

and from two worlds away my mother says she
wishes she could put all of the hopes and dreams
she wanted for herself in a box so she could give
them to me. she says, i don't know if you'll ever
understand how much i love you, and i say i love you
too, rolling my eyes like it's no big deal, but what i

really mean to say is,
i think i finally understand.

and,

i would move universes for you.
Gabi Dec 2018
it comes and goes,
this feeling that i’ve been ****** into a world rushing at a dangerous pace past my ears and i am here
alone
watching, helpless, as time disintegrates everything into particles of dust that lay down to die at my feet

do you remember learning how to use your limbs?
gawky in the glow of youth under bare trees and two foot snow,
catching snowflakes in your eyelashes and trying to prove that each one has a different pattern

nothing beats a minnesota winter when you’re young and full of wonder

now winter comes and the wind sighs through these bare branches on these bare trees and my chest aches in empathy
and the stark coldness is beautiful in a way that makes me immeasurably sad, like most beautiful things do,
and the quietness sings of a loneliness i find myself singing along to,
and i wonder where that child went, that one who saw winter and thought of joy and that one who saw the world and met it with innocence

time is a master in the art of deception; it’s made fools out of us all.

i stand still on this precipice of understanding as everything i have spins in circles around my head
and i am me me me me me me me even as time shapes and bends me into something else

we are all stripped bare, standing in front of the unfathomable infiniteness of the universe and begging it for some sort of revelation that will make the dark seem not so dark
i am terrified of loneliness; a walking, talking, convoluted fermi’s paradox: if i am not alone, why do i always feel like it?

someone asked me once whether i think we are in control of our own lives or if we are led by fate
i said i think we’re in control, but i don’t think that’s true, now
maybe time has laid out the birth and death and everything in between of the whole universe and we’re just along for the ride, living out a story that’s already been painted for us
or maybe this is really me, and not time itself, looking out and wondering if anybody’s there

maybe there are greater mysteries than this simple childlike plea for a feeling of companionship;
maybe i am still that child in winter after all.

we are our own destructors of everything we are and everything we have been and everything we will be and everything we hold onto

it took me years to realize everything is temporary
how long will it take me to believe it?
Gabi Dec 2018
i love you more than i’ve ever loved anyone, i think;
i love you in a way that feels important, wide open and vulnerable.
there’s a hole in my chest. gaping,
but filled all the way through.
like the stars i have purpose, i am radiating, so intense my bones rattle.

i wish you could see.
Gabi Dec 2018
i said i don't see galaxies in her eyes, and i don't.
it's something clearer than that,
an ocean pressed
to the size of a knife and pierced
through my chest

i still get chills when i look at her, sometimes,
and yet i sit by the fire drinking hot chocolate and the winter turns into something beautiful.

she is cold but
she is the warmest thing that has slipped through the holes in my skin and taken up space in the hollows of my bones.
she smiles at me, and,
not for the first time,
i wonder why it had to be her,
who looks at me like she sees me but touches me like she doesn't,
who sees the way i reach for her but doesn't reach back.

she smiles at me and i cannot move;
above our heads, the sun shines.
Gabi Dec 2018
the quiet light across your face
does not reach inside the folds of your smile

you are incandescent
even when there is nothing left to shine for

i feel blood pumping through my veins to the beat of your heart
Gabi Dec 2018
faded blue, denim, to the backdrop of a world winding down
flowers wrapped tight around the buttons of my shirt
you and me, fingertips edging on dreams and empty space
our skin warms the snow off the earth
i reach a hand out towards the unknown and beg you, silently, to follow me
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