"You can't take a picture of this. It's already gone."

Thursday, April 21, 2016


There are days like today
that are much harder than others.
I've lost a little practice in handling my own fear. 
Hand me yours instead
and I can walk you through fire and floods
but hand me my own 
and I will deal 
my crisis
and then spend the next week
wondering why I am cold and shaking.

So to stave off the cold
and the shaking hands
which are constantly in front of me
I sit and swirl the glittering thoughts
in front of me,
making my own night sky 
and telling my own myths.

In a large dark room,
which smelled like beer and smoke
I put on my favorite shoes,
bright yellow sandals
and my mother taught me to dance.
We two stepped to the fiddle and steel guitar
and I fell in love with the sound
and we laughed at the way our curls
bounced in unison.
Her hands made mine look small
and she showed me how to lead and follow
and she told me to always let your partner think they were leading
that was the trick to it.
And eight year old me heard her clearly 
and always let her lead when we danced.

There's a movie theater near where I live
that I think has seen me in all the awkward moments.
It saw my first kiss
and it saw every heinous date that followed
and every group that I went in with
and every time I left trailing behind everyone
and it saw me in tears after Mass
and unbearably confused when he touched my arm
and I hate it for how it has seen me
in my teenage stupidity
and all the stupidity that follows.

I'm walking down the halls of the school
with her
girls with sharp edges and soft eyes
and we are laughing so hard we're crying
and holding each other up
and she's watched me be smart and vicious
and we've sat hip to ankle close
for months now.
There's photographic proof of this moment
where we were laughing
but we laughed so often like that
that I don't need to remember why we were that day.

Same place different time,
he told me he had never been kissed
and I wondered for several days how that could be true
wondered and pondered and
contemplated until
I couldn't stand it any longer.
I waited until I was sure it was only us,
halfway up the staircase
leaned in
pushed him against the wall
and kissed him
scorched him into my brain
and then finished the long walk to class.
He stayed there for a while.

I'm swimming in a pool
and trying not to notice the proximity
of the body close to mine
when the person I'm trying to ignore
asks me if I've lost my bracelet
and then pulls a small copper colored snake out of the pool
and holds it up next to my arm.
I love to be in the water
but it has somehow always been a place of turbulence
but I swim anyway.

I spent most of my life in a room
with a ghost that lived in the closet.
My dad built the closet so I had a large walk in one,
with plenty of space for my books
and once it was dark, I had to make sure the books
I wanted to read were out of the right side
of the closet because I didn't go in there after dark.
I never saw anything wrong there
No one ever hid in there
There's not a good reason for me not liking that side
but this year my dad made a joke about my closet being haunted
and I don't recall ever sharing that particular fear with him.

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