Tomorrow I will wake and find that the tabloid magazines in the grocery store checkout aisle have lied.
"New year, new you..."
But the eyes looking back at mine in the mirror are the same.
Maybe it's not about this night, though, but the three-hundred-and-sixty-five others.
One of those "it's about the journey, not the destination," kinda things.
Congratulations, space rock. You've made your way around our star yet again.
I'd like to think that the girl at this checkpoint in space last year was different.
That she's since learned the difference between being alone and being lonely,
how to take up space, and hold her own, and cry a little.
That she's not afraid to say yes to the things that scare her in a good way,
and no to the people who aren't worth it.
I think she's still a little lost, but maybe she's made her peace with that.
Maybe it's enough to live for the little things,
and love a little recklessly,
and grin for no reason at all
as this rock sets out on another trip around our star.
Winter will come and it will ache in the right ways, like so many memories blurred by time.
Somewhere a child lies face up in the snow, their breath hovering above parted lips before falling,
freezing like teardrops at the corners of closed eyes.
This is a place of melting, tree branches clawing towards a deep blue sky, casting boughs of wet snow aside like chains,
pattering a frantic staccato against the stones below.
You cannot grow up in a place like this without letting it inside you,
the way snowmelt curls against mountains, nestling it’s way into the cracks,
tearing you apart.
This place will change you,
but come spring,
as the silt of your soul tumbles towards the sea below,
you will be reminded that it is in change that the freedom to this place is found.
There is freedom here,
in the way my breath escapes these lungs,
the way the words escape my throat, messy and incoherent like so many pebbles clattering down a mountainside,
but I have spent too much of this life afraid of heights,
and there is something exhilarating about falling
When the china shop is built around the bull
you are forced to make way,
push porcelain against walls, bend slivers of shelves around her,
and focus on your own breath,
because when the teacups come clattering down
it will be due to your own carelessness.
There is a sweetness in loving the thing that is tearing you apart,
when silence is ground like ceramic under pounding hooves,
pretty words lined up like so many dinner plates,
made more precious by the knowledge that one day these, too, will fall.
This is sunday morning, steeped in sunlight,
the world blurry outside of a cracked window.
This is the aftermath,
late night conversations still glowing on the phone screen,
single spaced musings about the fragility of life,
and a hundred other childish things.
This is tracing patterns overhead on the popcorn ceiling,
and letting the sound of your own breath
lull you back to sleep,
wondering if you have ever felt quite this human before.
A part of me thinks that if I was braver I would end up in a place like this,
the street corner on a Sunday afternoon,
“pick a topic get a poem” scrawled in black ink before me,
bedsheet tablecloths and broken typewriters,
wondering if this is one of those places you read about
where artists go to die,
a shrine of cigarette smoke and sunshine,
alcohol as inspiration.
and as much as I’ll never admit it,
something in me envies them,
envies their willingness to become a poem unto themselves,
even if it is one with ugly edges and a bittersweet end.
Etched on the backs of my eyelids is one of those dusky nights,
threadbare tires and music that tastes of static and somewhere else.
Outside autumn is taking its final rattling breath,
the cold just shy of being cruel,
though I will only notice this later.
For now I lean against the backseat window,
watching streetlights flicker lazily to life,
pretending I cannot feel your hand in mine,
the way you trace the ring on my finger,
and my world snaps into focus.
I try to find something pretty to say,
but my prose has always looked better on paper,
and there is a simplicity in silence, too.
There is a boy who steals sleep from the gods and sells it for a dollar fifty,
filthy fragments of damaged dreams that taste of rainwater and immortality,
and later, when you wake, you will feel clean again,
and you know that to be mortal is to be warm in the wrong ways,
all hot tears and ugly laughter and something that feels uncomfortably close to love,
but we are not gods,
and life is too short to spend asleep.
Sugar and spice and similar bullshit
Grandpa says god made little girls out of sugar and spice and everything nice,
and I guess I wouldn’t know because there was no god in the house I was raised,
but there is no sugar in girlhood, either,
and I wonder if this, too, was lost in translation.
If I could add a stanza to sacred scripture,
pagan turned prophet,
girls would be splinter and stone and those fragments of bone,
ground to dust by a world resting on their shoulders.
Maybe girlhood is knowing that your world is small but words cut deep,
and when you carry something for long enough you forget how to put it down.
You begin to think that these too-small fingertips are enough to hold a glass globe overhead,
That they are enough to stop the silver spiderweb of cracks that snake across its surface,
Girl playing god,
but god is a man other people believe in,
and sugar doesn’t taste as sweet when you can’t tell it apart
from the ground glass glittering on your empty palms.
to the girl who needs to hear it
There are 206 bones in the human body and thirty minutes until the bell rings,
stop the chit chat because this is fifth grade health class and today we are talking about growing up,
make sure you eat right and smile more and don't do drugs...
or is it smile right, do drugs more, and don't eat?
Moving on, it doesn't matter, get your calculators out because today we are learing how to calculate body mass index,
can you say body mass index, kids?
Welcome to the number game,
to memorizing the calories in a chocolate milk carton and how long you have to jump rope to burn them off,
we walk home thinking small thoughts and practicing how to take up less space,
teacher says things get easier when you're older but I believed mama when she called me beautiful right up until the day I walked in on her watching the way her bare stomach buckled in the bathroom mirror, right up until I saw the tears in her eyes,
and this is not to say I blame her for the days when I do not feel beautiful but rather to acknowledge that we failed her too.
there are 206 bones in the human body but baby you are so much more than a skeleton, and I know they taught you that hating this body was the same as helping it,
and it is so fucking hard to be gentle with yourself because big kids don't cry,
so count this as me throwing a tantrum.
This body has danced to so many songs alone in my bedroom, and I love her.
This body has pet so many dogs, and I love her.
This body has bled and bloated and broken... and I love her.
and some days I do not want to, but mama taught me that love is unconditional.
There are 206 bones in the human body and I don't know if learning to love this body gets any easier, but maybe it is enough to try.
they taught us in school that everything is made of something smaller, that if you cut it in half enough times you’ll still be left with something,
and I think the girls on the magazine covers in the grocery store checkout line must cry about this at night,
cry that you cannot cut enough calories to be nothing at all,
but they are trying anyway,
corpse turned commodity because we read somewhere that love is only given to the dying, so thank god we are dying,
feasting on famine, packing pride down bleeding throats like it’s enough to sustain us, wondering if this is what gluttony feels like,
stomach bile gnawing on self worth until I wonder if my teachers were wrong this whole time-
I don’t think I can feel any smaller than this.