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.



When I was a child, I loved the taste of saltwater
I looked forward to loose teeth and a bloody gap
for the sake of swishing around something that felt
A miniature version of something
grand and mysterious in the caverns of my mouth
but with no more baby teeth left to lose
the only bloody gaps I have left
are the unanswered questions my heart has decided
to stow away
and in the heat of this southern summer
they yearns for the holistic remedy of my childhood
the stinging
thing that leaves something purer in its wake


Child made of flame
incorrigible rule breaker
how often you burn
Impulsive decisions bring
you too close to the sun
and sensible ones just
lead you to the altar
But when your passions
are dismissed
or your intuition ignored
you burn from the inside
Created by circumstance
guided by fire
you mimic the phoenix
with an all-consuming


In the stillness between breezes
and in the melody of the birds’ songs
In the milliseconds between fluttering wings
and in the white noise of the cicadas’ call
Where leaves crunch underfoot
and rain-rich soil molds to the curves of your feet
lies the gift of the present
and the promise of peace of mind

For Jonathan and Shelika

It’s a time for change
but it wouldn’t have arrived
if we weren’t ready for it
I know how terrifying it is to teeter
between familiar ground
and the edge of the unknown
and even though it feels
as if people and beings
bigger than you
are pushing you closer
to the precipice
Don’t doubt for a moment
that it isn’t on your terms
Until you become reacquainted
with the fact

Feel the anger
and the frustration
the disappointment
and the sadness
the fear
and the uncertainty
Feel the betrayal
and the relief
the optimism
and the anxiety


And then remember
your strong mind
and gentle heart
how far you’ve come
and everything
you’ve accomplished
along the way
Remember you are capable
and supported
and loved

And then plunge
into that unknown


At 23, I was reintroduced to myself
A smaller
more curvaceous me
lay dormant within
until the weight loss
the loss of
her shelter
and bunker
forced her out
into a world that was aware
of her presence
long before I was

a composition of
soft parabolas
of earth and stars
a formula of nature and genetics

The curves of my face
so much like my mother’s
are the stage for emotions
I can’t – or fear to –
put into words
My thoughts made
loud and clear
A private open book

The curves of my breasts and hips
the promising signs of
the motherhood
I’m not sure I want
but the indicators or
the strong
women I stem from
Ones that I bear
without shame

The curves of my legs
the arches of my feet
support the weight of 26 years
worth of memories
sweet as summer fruit
and lessons
bitter as leafy greens
and just as beneficial
Loyal and reliable
these curves will continue
to carry me through more
peaks and valleys

At 23, I met a version of myself
that was to stick around
for awhile
Curvaceous in ways
that more than
meet the


and sweet
coats my heart
like the syrup
that glazes
candy apples
It’s richer than I expected
and thicker than I would like
But it’s a lesson in warmth
and emotional acceptance
in softness
and malleability