I lied on my back Under the oak, Taller than my self assurance And bigger than my confidence In Civic Center Park. The sky was pregnant with a thunderstorm past its due date. The little local band was playing their little local songs on the little fold up stage.
I was Thinking about why I️t mattered so much how I looked to everyone. Here in this park Or in the grocery store Or the coffee shop “Because we want to be beautiful.” I️ thought “Because I want to be loved” Loved. Loved?
I remembered then, that I was Perhaps not by all, But by a few. A really important few. They tell me in special languages And bring me plates of spaghetti (And I eat it, even with the meat, because I love them back) And they drive an hour and a half to bring me home. And I don’t feel so afraid Or sad Or irrelevant As I lie with my cherry boxing gloves Under the oak Taller than my fears, and bigger than my insecurities. I’m just one with the mamas and their tuft hair babies And the beer sipping husbands And the pizza chewing boys And the women with bikes And the couples on their blankets And the tie-dye tee teenagers and the taco truck workers And the sleepy dogs And the kids with the football. I’m just with love. It’s all love here.
I lay my woozy wobble head down On the floor And close the blinds over my eyes And open up the windows to my ears To listen to the lullaby that loneliness is playing for me on the radio
It sounds like low violin, The sound bumblebees make, Sad and sharp as the nails I dig into my palms While I sway gently, Horizontally, to myself On the living room floor
I can hear the piano In the song now, Popping sweet Like a blueberry on the nights tongue. The piano is crying I am crying too.
I keep the blinds closed Search blindly For the bottle I left standing Like a bowling ball pin Tangled up in my hair I kiss that bottle and she kisses me back And we laugh while Saltwater and grape blood Dance awkward and slow on my tongue Like they’re at their first middle school dance And their hands are clammy But their hearts are racing
The song ends and lonely smiles Just barely, Like a crescent moon, And treads lightly across my hardwood mattress Lonely curls up next to me, and we all fall asleep Like that. Wine bottle on one side, Lonely on the other, Me Right in the middle
Someone once asked me why I starve When I know it could **** me “It’s not even attractive To be that skinny”, They said.
I let the sentence simmer and bubble in my crockpot cranium, And chewed it for a long time After it was done cooking
“I want the parts of me” I said “That nobody has made *****” The hips and the ribs and the spine And the knobby knock knees That so many man-children In my young life Have not had the chance To bruise and scratch And touch And dissect.
I want the bones And I’ve wanted them as long as my hole punched Memory can recall Because they are the one thing That has ever, Truly, Only, Been mine And mine alone. The secret I can grab with both hands.
You’re the first girl I ever felt in my chest Hammocking between my littlest ribs With each swing My bones creaked And sang A violin’s voice You bumped my heart and made it beat With every lazy kick of your foot
You’re the first girl Who’s ever touched my hand Crocheted your little fingers In between mine, so Where I end is where you start And I feel like I could go on and on Forever, attached to something this beautiful.
You’re the first girl that made me fly I strung my patchwork scarf Across my back and flapped My arms And I had wool wings And my teeth forced my lips apart and refused to let them meet again I was laughing I was soaring I was Icarus.
You’re the first girl Who’s made me cry Big and **** Tire marks black Down my cheeks Hit and run me over with want My lungs heave-hoing out oxygen Like there’s just not enough in the whole world to fill them
You’re the first girl That made me feel On top of the world And underneath it All in the same week.
-I’d keep the globe perched on my shoulders indefinitely if it made you smile
You know, Maybe, It’s just me but I guess I just find it Funny That people say it’s girls who have loose lips When the boys at this table have mouths Like open caves With stalagmite teeth Bats come flying out
I guess, Maybe, It’s just my magic trick, The way I become invisible When the boys Sit down for dinner And they open up their backpacks And their gym bags And pull out butcher knives That shine like brand new quarters In the cafeteria fluorescents
I’m not sure, But maybe The churning of my stomach Is a sign That there’s sharks In these waters I feel my wet socks in my wet shoes as I jiggle my knee And watch the boys With their knives Start chopping up girls on the plastic top table
They cut slices off of Julia and Megan And Kara and lob them across the table to their friends Just Like the men at Pike Place Fish Market Fling whole salmon Into each other’s gloved hands I saw them do it When I went to Seattle once. I feel water climbing up my legs. I see a shark fin.
Did I blush red? Maybe, When the boy next to me catches Katie’s legs In his calloused hands And laughs a laugh that sounds like An out of tune violin They’re all laughing now, Like car horns and fire alarms Laughing about Katie’s legs And Kara’s *** And Megan’s hips And Julia’s **** It’s the ugliest orchestra I’ve ever heard
And perhaps, Maybe, I’m the only one who’s noticed, But we’re not in the cafeteria anymore We’re right there In that room In that bed In that moment With JuliaMeganKaraKatie And I don’t want to be there.
And I know, For sure, No maybes, That If JuliaMeganKaraKatie knew We were all here too In her room In her bed In her That she’d cry enough saltwater To flood the whole earth And wash it clean.
We leave the table Bones on the floor Shark boys clean their teeth with toothpicks My clothes are soaked All the way up to my neck.
-I never go in the ocean, I’ve seen the sharks when they frenzy.
Have you ever felt fear So strong It made you stop & Turn & Run?
You’re running and hear The heat Whispering against your neck Bleeding Into your cheeks and the tips of your ears Cherry stained Anxiety Cherries, red and fat and sickly sweet Force themselves up your throat
You’re running in shoes That aren’t meant for running Down the sidewalk past the midnight hour You make a biker stop and stare He asks you something But you’re too busy unzipping the air and Flying Through it Trail of cherries behind you.
You’re running Across the street And you feel your hands fall off And then come your toes You lose an arm And then it’s twin Your whole torso And hips Left on the double yellow line You’re just a head and legs Cherries spilling like rubies From your lips
You’re running And running and running Until you only feel cherry seeds On your tongue Only seeds between your teeth No more cherries Your legs become red silk ribbon and you pick a tree as tall as heaven to Collapse under.
You stopped running. You wring the cherry juice out of your sweater Lick it off your fingers, Wipe it out of your eyes. Your legs grow back into legs And you collect your pieces and parts on the walk back. Follow the trail of smushed squished cherries
You pick one up put it in your mouth Sour as battery acid You swallow it whole And go back to your essay On rhetoric.
-spring sprung a leak, and there’s no stopping her