So full of frost, of storm, and cloudiness.
find you everywhere;
all the songs become
about you and the
sky can see us both.
I scrounge for change. I bring my own travel mug
to school because it’s cheaper that way. I start books
but do not finish them. I think about love obsessively.
Everything I do reminds me of my grandfather.
My grandmother visits and talks to me about God,
wants me to believe, but I do not have that kind of faith.
I only believe in the easy things, like red lipstick
and coffee before noon and writing essays in pen.
I make my mind up about boys and then I unmake it,
compare us to continental drift, two ships passing.
I hit the snooze button too often. Write disposable
poems on napkins and old homework, try to discipline
myself when it comes to removing my makeup
before bed. I am trying to understand men better,
cut them some slack, write about them less. I dream
about oceans and mountains and wolves. I do not
always love myself. I do not always forgive myself.
I write apology letters and do not send them. Usually,
I do not mean it when I tell someone “goodbye.”
I treated my body like a fixer-upper
Or a home improvement project.
Maybe a new coat of paint will
Make me worth something this time.
Maybe if we knock out a few walls
And build a walk-in closet,
There will be room in me for all the love
My heart pumps out like blood
Like tap water.
Maybe I can build a levee to hold it all in.
It took until I was nineteen,
With a Black&Decker buffer
Trying to smooth the cellulite out of my thighs,
It took until I had broken my own back over my knee.
It took until I was aching
From all the empty rooms in my renovated house
To realize that a body is not a rental.
A body is not a work-in-progress.
A body is not something to be ashamed of.
They gave me names that stuck
Like coffin nails in my bones.
I gave them years of believing they were right.
I am not a town home.
I am a goddamned temple.
Frightened hearts leave their hymnals at my feet.
I spread my arms and take up space, I am sprawling.
Eight stories high with a heart like climbing ivy.
They told you lies.
Girls are not just small things
With tiny hands and bleeding hearts.
Girls are big as the ocean with mouths like the Barrier Reef.
Girls carry love in the bend of their shoulders
That could bring a country to it’s knees.
When I say I am bigger
Than the things that try to hurt me,
I mean it literally.
I am not ashamed to be a big woman.
I’ve had mountains in me from the day I was born,
And shame on you, if you are too small
To reach them.
He’s not a poet, but
I can tell from the way that he
traced the curve of my spine with his fingertips
that he thinks like one.
Because I could never fall in love with a man
who didn’t know
that the most tender thing
he could possibly do
was send me a poem by Baudelaire
and tell me, “I think you might possibly like this.”
Because fuck if that’s not one of my favorites.
And all I ever wanted was to fold myself into someone
who heralded unspoken thoughts and was a messenger
of words without words
of a kiss broken by silence,
of silence, broken by a kiss.
Because all of the men I’ve ever fallen for
weren’t really poets.
They just held secrets
like gold teeth in the back of their mouths,
and they just kissed me,
like I was the last poem in the world.
I pick you out of my teeth like spinach.
I take a bath and I don’t think about drowning myself.
My sister spends the weekend at the apartment and
doesn’t ask me about it, even though she can see
that my teeth have gotten sharper since last time.
Your name is just a name.
I am still in one piece when I close the door.
I say “thank you for everything” and wipe my mouth.
You watch the Discovery Channel and see a lioness
lick her bloody paws after a kill.
You think of me and wonder if the grass was really so tall
that you couldn’t see me coming.
I am growing into something fierce and hungry.
When I kiss your skin, I am only trying to taste your bones.
Whatever is left of you, I hope it forgets me.