Preparing

My mom pulled me aside today to talk strategy
her father is in his mid 80s and his heart
is bothering him more than usual
but what bothers my mom is the silence
how she has to pull entire sets of teeth
to confirm what her nurse’s intuition
has already told her

Plans and to-do lists
come rattling out of her mouth
like a military general –
an expert in war and men
and loss –
Death is no stranger
she knows who she’ll have to concede to
once again

There won’t be resistance on her end
No bargaining with God for more time
or for someone to take his place –
too much life beats through her
own patchwork heart –
and a seed of stoicism
will prevent any public show of tears
but the same life that pushes her
blood through her veins will
reminder her of the strength that
lies in vulnerability

So, she’ll cry
privately
silently
with only God
and her parents
to bear witness

Amber

I used to admire amber until a
99-million-year-old piece was
discovered in Myanmar this spring
In it
a bending and splayed hatchling –
the best preserved of its kind –
immortalized in a final and
absolute moment

I used to wish
for the slow drip
of tree resin
to glaze and encase
my best moments
Blocks of amber collected
to create galleries and exhibits
until I saw that 99-million-year-old
hatchling

What amber traps
is often beautiful in its own right
What it does is even more so
An achievement beyond mortal ability:
the physical capture of a moment
in its entirety
but what lies within is invariably dead
and what justice would I do to myself
if museums were built only on the very
best of memories
with no acknowledgement of who I am
in the peaks
in the valleys
or in the silence between the two

A denial of the very thing that
makes me the most human –
the thing that I work the hardest
to accept:
the constant flux
that’s woven into
the fabric of
being

Boon (For Sylvy)

we traipsed through
a self-indulgent summer
with sunshine on our crowns
smoke in our lungs
and lip prints on our necks
the heat fueling our cores
instead of burning us from
the inside out
a year’s worth of
difficult emotions
and poisonous thoughts
has led to this respite
responsible for no one
but ourselves
maybe these violent delights
don’t always have such violent
ends

Airborne

All I ever knew about air was how to fly away
When Fear nipped at my heels
they would sprout wings –
an avoidant Hermes
messenger to no one
emissary to Doubt
With no destination in mind
I had to plot a course
through the flames
and the depths
and the earth
before I could learn
a different type of flight pattern –
one that harmonizes with the currents
and is fueled by Desire and Freedom
Airborne for the sole sake
of the here and now

Earthbound

When God created man,
He sculpted him from the earth
and blew Life into him
But I never felt that breath until I knelt down
in total humility and picked up fistfuls of soil
to fill up the cracks that had spider-webbed across
my heart
Earthborn by circumstance but earthbound by choice
because when emotions flood my mind
and passion consumes my logic
and fear inspires flightiness
I can feel the same soil that birthed mountains
and sustains redwoods
shift within like a call to arms
A reminder of a second homecoming
that out of the chaos and the pain
emerged the woman I always knew I could be
Dusty from crown to sole
Lush inside and out

Untitled

I jumped into serving at the peak of my heartbreak–desperate for both money and a distraction. Four months worth of doubles and stains and that vague but all-inclusive restaurant smell have molded me into … something. I’m not quite sure what.
When I leave in the dead night, the roads are vacant and the lights are green. A lone person making a long commute with a pocketful of cash.
Sometimes, after swapping the chill of the car for the humidity outside, I stand in the road. I listen to the crickets and for the silence between the chirps. I see the trees, miles high, silhouetted against the sky. But some nights, in the stillness and in the solitude, I see a parade. A procession of all the women I used to be that ends with the woman who’s standing on that road. The one who’s saving and planning for a hazy future. The one who feels a bit of a panic at the thought of turning 27. The one who’s not sure if she takes writing seriously enough to be risky with it. The one who’s only certain of the conviction that her heart fights to reminder her of, day in and day out, and wonders if that’s enough.