sitting across the white kitchen table or cross-legged on my side of the bed or beside you on a couch covered in dog hair is a hollow mold of a person. not as sweet as one of those chocolate easter bunnies no one ever finishes. not as dead as the inside of a black rotting trunk but close. inside my head is a seam ripper that splits everything down the middle. sometimes you are standing in front of the bright window, glowing like a saint. sometimes i let you fall into an algae-lined pool that i will not pay to have cleaned. everything is floating within me. i haven’t figured out how to anchor this stuff down. no one ever taught me how.
i don’t think my mother ever brushed my hair. and if she did, i can’t remember it. i could lie and say that i wonder why, but i know why. it was because she was busy with my sister’s brand-new curls, busy tending to her own dark roots and dry ends.
when i am a mother, i will balance my sons and daughters on my lap and one by one comb through their soft mops with patient hands.
they will never wonder why i left them to sort out the knots on their own.
they will know i am there to help untangle the predestined messes caused by the wind, and caused by me.
there is a modest one-story home with white stucco walls and a red tiled roof waiting for me somewhere near a floridian beach.
the yard is flat and dry. some days, i’ll lie there on top of a patterned quilt in a two-piece hand over brow reading a thick memoir on loan from the library that sits on the other side of the brush, beyond the wooden fence.
winter will just be a memory. every week, my toenails will sink into the sand wearing a different shade of pink. i will not fold away my sundresses and shove them under the bed. they will only leave their wooden hangers to be worn and washed.
time simply records the falling and growing and falling of things. one of these days, i will be the budding lily pushing up dirt to greet the other side with all of the beauty i am ready to be.
i keep forgetting that i have fearfully crawled into places filled to the brim with heartbeats and suffocating heat just to find myself with dry palms and a soft jaw minutes later
i hold my tongue only to cut it off when i hate the feeling of it inside my mouth and leave it for him to hold all pink and slimy and frantic and cruel and wonder why it’s hard for him to read my poetry
and every night i lie my head against the chest of indifference and swear that i can hear the lazy thump of his affection resting shallowly below thin ribs
i am kept awake through the loneliness hours considering my own self-inflicted wounds instead of dressing the deep cut we both share
sometimes i drift into another life where ivy crawls up the side of a warm building to my left as i walk hand in hand with you, your parents strolling slowly a few paces behind. everything is still inside of me. i do not fear the future nor ache for the past. my heart beats quietly next to yours. i am only here, only there. i do not drift. i listen to love songs and am reminded of my own happiness.
the rain has stopped and the birds are lining the sidewalks, shaking their feathers dry. today will be slow and i’m okay with that. i’ll cook and clean and sit on the balcony and breathe in the mild air. i am happy and lucky to be here. it makes my heart heavy to know that i must remind myself of that so often.
every day i look into a mirror with smudges all over the middle framed in gold with carvings of birds and vines at the edges there are little cracks that sometimes my fingers get caught on and i bleed quietly onto the cold floor
it doesn’t like to be kissed when my hair is half up and half down but still i leave my balmy lip stains defiantly on the spaces i can reach and focus on everything in front of me except for my own reflection