Cover of this month’s Boston Magazine.
I wrote a poem about my mom and sister in the grey of you back patio,
loud and fumbling like the prospect of a beer with these friends.
I did that pretend crying about the differences between me and my sister
and you and your brothers,
like offering you a sip from a bottle you’ve probably already had.
Like the very cold joy and the empty high in my head that is not eating.
You tried to offer me an Ikea chair
and a shot of Souza
and also that diet coke and Easter candy I told you to buy
and the long johns and shirt stays I told you to stop wearing.
I’d rather bubble up my tipsy clarities siting on the cinderblocks that make your flowerbeds that my roommate scolded you for siting in once in the summer and crushing your own flowers.
I need to be alone to dissemble my sister’s distant mind
like hospital gowns.
We are family, my mom agrees and I wonder why, always a little silly, I can’t say so much with so little to you.
Two months ago, utterly drunk, we decide to go to Europe.
Today, dizzy, we buy tickets.
You say I need a shower only after I concede to smelling
so I go home
and my uncle dies on my sister and I.
You’re family too but I pretend to cry and tell tangled truths to no one, not you.
I would like to introduce myself
while I am on a train of people going back home
I am going to Hartford
for a far away uncle’s funeral
back in Philadelphia by 5am
I love trains, not destinations
an eight hour Saturday, an opening night
a weekend in New York City
a closing and a plane
that stops in Boston on its way to Madrid
and Valencia and Barcelona for the feast of Saint Joan
I can remember Spanish like I remember how to mix acrylic colors
I don’t care for chemistry
I struggle through French tests
I remember stories or
I remember pictures
I’m never word perfect
I would not admit I don’t need to know how to spell
I make sense
and it’s my offering
in language a director calls broken
I don’t feel so broke so
I watch the Iberian debit
with imperfect satisfaction
on a train headed to Hartford.
construction paper hand-me-downs
or a kindly neighbor bought with his own money
bare feet snagged on loose nails
hammer in hand
once when the floor was put down
clay refuses to form, amorphous
shaped like the inside of a fist
lungs that smell like mildew inside
and doors have been open and airing it out for years and years and years.
snapped as a sapling
but then roots meet rocks for all trees
Was I born in the winter or the spring?
Do I inherit the sun?
Shaded by dying leaves
scattered, on a dowry of wind
Maybe it’s fall
which I hate
doesn’t belong to trees
and history gets buried
in the dying leaves of last season
When I was a baby
and now too
train whistle blowing
was my favorite sleeping song
then because I was swinging a lantern
or at the wheel?
now I need train whistles
like I need sleep.
The green piggy bank
is meowing at me
but I’ve already scrubbed the floor with my fur
and my fraying owl is empty
no regurgitation for you.
loses friends, specifically friends in nine-to-fives
I’m lying in bed
lying a little
specifically this is all over text message
means the same thing as in particular lol
which is especially in my essays are littered with
trying to become more specific
because I am a woman and insist on speaking to my peers
and young and an artist
I took six or seven different techniques of vocal resonance and vocabulary
so I am angry when I have a small voice
no one likes an angry lady and I am not graceful
I stay still
and sharpen, slowly
If you think these are the worst moments in life, you live a seriously charmed life, man.
All you need is a little resilience, perspective and strength. And some ice cubes and a hobby. There you go. I solved your life.
that throb and climb their way out of bellies
sneezes or laughter
elicit fear for favorite underwear
cell phone alarms chorus every night
flies in petite fistfuls from the first aid kit
things that could have happened in the single stall
and the line
the vending machine runs low