childhood should not equal tragedy,
but when I think about mine
I only ache and
I want to drop to my knees;
out of grief or of prayer,
let it all fall away
or let it ******* burn.
children should not know sorrow. dads should not be ******.
this body is a place of worship.
I pray to the sunrise in my chest.
this body is a vessel for love.
kiss my knuckles and brush my fingers
across satin scars,
knees and elbows proof of healing.
I am bigger than this body,
like the universe forever expanding,
and I am nothing without this body.
every day I pray to the bones
keeping me up,
and the layers
keeping me warm,
and the skin
holding me always.
this body is mine to love
and it is holy.
self love is the kindest love.
if you need me I'll be standing in the garden/porcelain roots pushing through dirt/glance out the kitchen window/see me swaying with the wind/I'll be your music box ballerina/a daisy in the mud/I could never be enough.
find me in my rain boots/right after a storm/***** fingernails/prying up bricks/finding ants but/praying for slugs/I've always scooped worms off sidewalks/set them down safe in the grass/but I've always been last/too busy befriending snails/to care about being first.
if you want me I'll be sitting/on the deck out back/the smell of rotting wood/cleans my soul/and my hands are happiest when/you can't wash the grime of/wet mossy wood off their palms/I was never enough.
find me making potions in the sandbox/rain water and dirt and grass and petals/and sand and leaves and tree bark/and one twig all in a *** stirred with a shovel/make love/I'll give you a bowl full for free.
if you want me/I'll be sitting in my favorite tree/the one you and dad are planning/to cut down next summer/I'll be watching the leaves/flicker in the wind/and holding clouds in my lungs/
I was never enough
it's the termites. they crawl under my skin when I am not looking. they have blackberry juice for blood. it drips down their little chins, sticky and soursweet.
I am just driftwood. tunnels etched into my bones. a million legs creeping around my insides. shore to shore I crash into rocks and am pulled away with the tide. it's always the moon telling me to leave. it's always me turning away.
I am just a stickman. hang me up to dry when you can't figure out what I am. the alphabet is not infinite enough to define me.
the termites don't like me whole. they prefer meat that is rotting. whispers in my skull, shadows leave me half complete. I like the sun best when it is below me. I like the light most when it is directly in my eyes. all the terrible things I never want to see. open your mouth and blind me.
a mother is supposed to be the soil surrounding your roots/a palatial tree with guiding hands/a renaissance of sun/
a father is supposed to mold you into an orchestra/a symphony/pounding thunder/pollen on bumblebees/
a sister is supposed to be a vine/growing tangled with you/fingers and leaves intertwined/evidence of sunlight/
I am gutted on the floor/my hands lay naked and lonely in the corner/my roots are shriveled up/desperate to be clean of dirt/the world is screaming at me/a sharp ringing between my ears/I am wilted/leaves brown/I know no sun/on the damp cement floor/I write in white chalk
things are never how they are supposed to be.
my mother is an expert
she has worn every shade;
consumed it all.
my father is a barber
stealing my mother's hair;
he made the strands
my father is an artist;
brush of my mother,
paint of his blood,
he colors me
I look like him,
he sees himself where
he wants to see
coat me in red until I am
I was six when I understood.
how ripping off the band aid
hurts more than the cut.
how skin is left red
where security once stuck.
I was forever and I didn't understand.
life is not fair,
but neither is death,
and what is left inbetween?
roses, to me, were always
they were anniversaries,
apologies, and uncertainties.
they were 'I love you enough
to have someone else hand you
flowers that someone else
they were 'I hate you enough
to make you watch us
my mother is always
christmas songs started with
jolly stockings and deceiving
red and green make
they make cinnamon wax spilled
on the carpet.
they make coffee on sofas and
against the wall.
I was fifteen when I looked down
and saw how red my hands had turned.
how brush strokes covered my skin.
how my cheeks were not rosy, but
how my eyes were not as young as
they should have been.
when the panic in my chest split me in two.
I do not want to be red.
his blood and my blood are made of the same.
I look like him, they say.
god please don't make me be red,
I will cover your dreams with my sobs.
my mother is an ocean
painted by a man who thinks
love and pain
are the same color.
I do not know how to scrub my skin
I do not want to be red,
but I don't know how to be anything
one day I will be my own.
I will be my own and you will not be able to turn me
you will not be able to
twist my spine and tie me
you will not be able to leave holes
in my skin,
from where you pushed your needles through and
into my bones, injecting me with your
hateandguiltandshameandsadness and everything else
that’s on the bottom of your shoe.
You will not be able to fill me
with tidal waves,
your words the earthquakes,
our home the shore.
You will not be able to stand
over me and pick me apart
like crows on pavement standing
I will not be your detached rabbit,
split open by tires and unable to
stop you from filling your belly with
my decaying heart and
fly filled lungs.
You will not be able to turn me
into a smothered fire,
flames licking my ribs,
smoke filling my insides
and begging my skin to
let it out.
You will not be able to break your teeth
over my bones
and have my forgiveness in the morning.
one day I will be my own.
none of me will belong to you or owe you anything.
one day I will be free,
and you will be dust,
and I won’t have to be