for mom

when i was young i used to believe the sweet lies

my mother whispered in my ear.


when i was young i would ride down to the five & dime


12 minutes there and back.


23.

if i pedaled slow

i could avoid her whiskey words and smoke stained skin

i knew so well,

when i was young.


when i was young, braided pig tails and sweet tea filled summer nights.


our brown grass -

and rusted pipes -

and bare feet on broken bottles.


take me back to the home we lived in.

the memories i’ve long since forgotten

and those she never bothered to remember.


when i was young -


lightning bugs and thunder skies

cloud my memory and

drown her sorrows.


when i was young

i didn’t believe in fairytales.

but when i was young

i always believed in her

 

a girl is a knife

the christmas of 1998 all I asked for was an easy bake oven.

i wanted to bake my mom brownies

with sprinkles.

i hoped the sweet sugar would melt on her tongue and

replace the bitter words that came so naturally.


the christmas of 2001 all I asked for was a bike.

i wanted to ride down the road

down // down // down

into the woods or into a world, any world, other than mine.


the christmas of 2011 all I asked for was a book.

Anna Karenina, I thought.

because even though she was doomed

at least she got the chance to feel alive


this christmas all I’m asking for is a knife

to chop off my hair, and shorten my skirt.

to cut out my heart, alongside my fear.

to end their control and with it, my limits.

a girl is a knife, and i’m yielding a blade.

 

girls

little girls grow up to be unruly women

girls taught to be seen // not heard

lipstick smeared off with bruised knuckles

pink dresses frayed // ripped to the seam in dark basements

girls trudging through their days asking when they will be seen // not heard

silent screams held back, effortlessly

on the playground they run, pink dresses, frayed

“why don’t you give me a smile”


silent screams held back, effortlessly

learning the ways to be less

“won’t you give me a smile, sweetheart?”

biting their tongues // becoming accustomed to the taste of blood in their mouths


learning the ways to be less

it is better to be voiceless than to be disobedient

but, someday, suddenly. they grow tired – of biting their tongues // of the taste of blood in their mouths

one day // they talk back


decide it is better to be disobedient than voiceless

whose rules are we breaking, anyway?

 

overture

do you remember -


running bare foot through the untamed grass on that october evening?

crisp leaves consumed your toes and your psyche

you became -


afraid

of falling

in the dirt

&

from your mother’s good graces


but


more afraid of never existing untethered to that land

which consumed all it touched


i’m sorry

for never letting you chase those pipe dreams

&

for convincing you of your own inadequacy


i’m sorry

for looking in the mirror

&

only ever hating who peered back


do you remember

what you wanted to be

when you grew up?


‘a meteorologist’


you’d say

because you thought it sounded smart


do you remember –


that first night our head went fuzzy?

the bitter taste of stolen liquor as

cigarette smoke snuck through your best friend’s lips

those lips you wanted so badly to kiss.


i’m sorry

i wasn’t stronger then

& i’m just as weak, still


do you remember

what you said that first time a boy kissed you?


‘more’


you lied

because you thought he’d make you full


i’m sorry

i never gave you the chance to be infinite


i came crawling out of that once forgiving flesh

at 16

because

at 16


anything soft

reminded me

of decency

and decency

reminded me

how much I lacked


i’m sorry

i was never enough for you

or you, me


do you remember - running bare foot through the untamed grass on that october evening?

crisp leaves consumed your musings

you remember –


how hard you tried to forget -

that 


fall leaves abandon their trees

for their own survival

and suddenly you began -

to forgive.