lol @ maybe walking to yesler tonight to watch a poetry slam
wish me luck on THAT
i need to buy pepper spray like two months ago
there are ants crawling up and down my arm
and they feel like your fingertips—sliding up
cold skin, leaving ghosts behind, until I flick
them away and then it’s like they were never
there at all. like you were never there at all.
which you weren’t. I would have known.
I made it all up and I’m sorry, because I wanted
you; I’m sorry, because I was afraid. but
aren’t I always? I play the same damn story
over and over again. it’d be a dangerous game
if it weren’t so safe. I want you. I dream about you.
I’ll never tell you. if you touched my skin
I would push your hands away while all the while
I am begging in my blood: no, darling, don’t
leave me; I promise this time you can kiss me, you
can run your hand up my thigh. but you can’t
hear my cells. fine. theirs are the words of the dying.
When God closes a door, there are no windows.
When the Big Bad Wolf knocks, he knows how to get in.
Be afraid of the dark.
Don’t make wishes you can’t keep.
If you drag a horse to water enough, she will drink.
If you don’t play with fire, it will find you and burn.
Even careful chickens get caught by the hawk.
It’s our first summer at Grandmother’s and, after our showers, she
inspects the dark condition of my sister’s neck, declaring it filthy.
You’re not cleaning right. We’ve got to get that dirt off you.
I peek through a cracked bathroom door as she and my ashamed sis-
ter wait over the tub until running water grows hot enough to kill
bacteria. My sister kneels under the rush, a sinner prepared for bap-
tism, while Grandmother scrubs as religiously as she scours the toi-
let each Saturday.
Grandmother breaks to write and squeeze the purification towel
free of water, soap, and a bricklike, muddy dirt Child, all that noise
ain’t necessary. If you could see this nastiness, you’d be thanking me.
Seeing my sister’s distress, I open the door wide. M’dea’, I think that’s
Grandmother quiets and bandages my sister well. I’m sorry, baby, I
didn’t know you was that black.
kate asked me to come over
to her childhood home
to meet her parents
and join their family dinner
i kept thinking, am i the type,
to bring home to mom and dad?
i am self-conscious
and i’m strange
and i wouldn’t let my daughter
date a person like me
but she insisted
that they’d love me
and they’d offered me a seat
at the head of the table
to talk about myself
and answer questions about church:
i went for 13 years and decided i hate liars
you’d have to be a sociopath to be a good politician..
her father had a deep guttural chuckle
with an aging rasp from 40 years of
the same brand of cigarettes
sitting in my front shirt pocket
and i could tell he approved
in his odd, silent way
her sandy-haired mother called me
by the name
of her daughter’s ex-lover
and i couldn’t tell
if it was deliberate
but i didn’t mind
because she smiled so sweetly
and i’ve never been able to read a woman
beyond her smile
but i’ve always known
when a woman liked me
i looked at kate
and she was watching her mother and father
so closely that i thought
she may have seen something
that i missed
but then she turned to me
and she didn’t stop
‘til we escaped to the upstairs
to fuck like teenagers
in the old bedroom
across from her folks’
My boyfriend sends me a text that says,
“When we have a daughter, can we name her Marble?”
Its not the name Marble
Or the daughter
It’s the WHEN
That pulls me record scratch stopped in the middle of a crosswalk
That same week
My roommate breaks up with his girlfriend because
“there was no point in stretching it out”
He wants kids one day
She does not
I consider the man on the dating website 2 years ago telling me he could not wait to meet me
Who within an hour cancels our dinner plans
when he notices that my profile says I do not want kids.
He’s not wasting a perfectly good dinner on my condemned and empty hips.
I named them Sylvia
My period is late for the first time since I lost my virginity
My boyfriend and I go to CVS to buy a test
He asks me if it’s a girl can we name her Erma after his grandmother
I ration a little of the blood I am trying to channel down to my uterus to my cheeks
and laugh for the first time in a week.
They don’t make Hallmark cards for your first pregnancy scare
No one shows up with a cake
and gifts to celebrate your continuance of not being a mother
I think they should.
I am registered at Target
After watching a friend’s kids while he handles hot pans in the kitchen
he slaps me on the back and says
“you’re good at this. You should have a couple.”
As if this is a compliment
because I know he means it to be a compliment
I name that one Harold
The hour long argument with the bossy girl at a party
after I say I would have my tubes tied in a second if I could
She slams hands on the table sure I will change my mind
Desperate for my biological clock to sync with hers.
My boyfriend’s hat size is XL
I have to special order the fedora as a Christmas gift
My pelvic wall winces at the thought.
Unbeknownst to my boyfriend
I have named the hat Fenwick.
I am in the room when my best friend of 15 years gives birth to her third child
She tells me that contractions feel like being attacked by a wolf from the inside out
By the end there is so much blood I am riffle loaded
and looking for the beast that did this to her
I spoon ice chips into her mouth
and try distract us both from the impressive number of stitches going into her vagina
It takes me nearly a month to hold the baby
When I finally do I check him for fangs
Despite the normally taken precautions
My period is late for the 4th time since I lost my virginity
We have evacuation plans posted like fire drills in the medicine cabinet
If its too late for plan B
Join the Roller Derby
My uterus does not quiver at the sight of fat cheecked babies discovering their toes
I do not touch pregnant women’s bellies and coo
I think that shit is mad creepy
I love children
but have no desire to baby proof my home
I own and like owning breakable things
I am and like being the one who breaks them
I name each piece
There is this knowledge that he and I would make beautiful babies
He would make a great father
I would-despite my own protests-make a really good mother
There are the pregnancy dreams
There are the holding hands to belly
and wondering what an answer would feel like
There is sadness in knowing I will not be that piece of miraculous for him
or with him
There is a strange and unexplainable guilt for wanting none of it.
This I have named