when she first tells you that it's timewhen she first tells you that it's time for her to leave
you will walk into the forest
climb inside the hollowed sequoia you call home
and scrape away the rotting bark with your teeth
you will hum over the static of the geiger counter
test the carbon and nitrogen in the soil
and look for atrazine in the water
you will build a fire so warm
a fawn will come and rest by its side
she will not
you will wade out into the ocean, deep
past buoys and bottom trawling nets
to understand the need to stand still
when the waves remind you that no matter how far you stretch your legs
this is not your home
you will check to see if you planted enough milkweed
but a monarch will never stay
some sleeping genotype awakens with the changing leaves
unlocking a map and survival skills to carry her gentle body
to a land her mother and grandmother never knew
when she first tells you that it's time for her to leave
you will not know what to say
you will wonder whether it was the oil on your fingertips
A Description of Happiness in Den Haagthe water in this city reminds me of my second love
wraps around me like a silk sheet in Sevilla summer heat
something between safety and suffocation
like an alcoholic's daughter to a second glass, I
keep my distance
we follow the blue arteries until all I see is sand
soft as cinnamon, I think it must be the finest in the world
I lie without a towel, let the smooth granules press into my folds
later whisper that it was the first time my belly had seen the sun
and make lines of shells in the sand
an offering to the oldest giver and taker,
mother of tides
we go out dancing and someone spills their drink on my shoe and I don't care
my arms are up and amelia is dancing against the wall
her hair has fallen down
she has become her own region of spacetime, a white hole,
an untouchable pulsing mass of energy and light
amelia tips her head back and laughs
a celestial spark on the tip of her tongue
and I know I cannot touch her
before I know it, we are on the stage
bodies moving like the song ha
Sitting on a Snow-Covered Picnic Table(Full Title: Sitting on a Snow-Covered Picnic Table in the Backyard of my Apartment on Pond Street on a Frigid February Evening in Providence)
Cursing silently, I lean forward,
hugging my knees to my body.
The sound of soft piano keys,
(from whose house, I don't know)
(from whose hands, I don't know)
coaxing my cowardly eyes open.
My body softens,
hammers striking strings,
producing not a clap, not a crash,
but the most beautiful hum.
I think of my grandmother,
(who has played the piano every day since she lost her last baby tooth,
when the porch light was her curfew,
and her hair was long and wild,
matching the color of her eyes)
when she said,
This is the way I want it to be.
I look at the bush in front of me,
planted from whose hands, I don’t know,
This song is for you.
I look at the thin, straggly spines to my left,
from which flower I don't know,
my chest swelling with excitement,
This song is for you.
I look at the wrinkled tree clo
bloodlines / waterlinesI think of rivers, pressing wrinkles into rock,
pouring the earth and skin into the ocean,
I imagine dragging my arms and legs on the ground
as mud digs under my nails
and I start to bleed.
I imagine reaching her,
the chamber for humming of whales,
salt buzzing with the sound of songs hundreds of thousands of miles long
to an unfamiliar lover.
No matter how hard I try to bring bits of home with me,
we are estranged.
Even the mud lodged in my ears and between my toes sinks
when the saline rushes in.
I watch my mother,
an ancient glacier who has known many suns,
who has inhaled and exhaled parts of her body tens of thousands of times
as though she and the sun shared the same heartbeat
shrinking and growing, and shrinking and growing.
I see her shape
and she glides effortlessly above me.
she basks in the sun;
Crisp clear water
atop the mighty god of salt, of sand, of remnants of blood
My mother has many secrets.
See, glaciers are
MoonsetI don't think I'm ready to write poems for you, she whispered,
voice dripping down like water droplets on leaves on a cold spring morning while the sun peeks over her window.
The sun was groggy,
half hidden behind clouds,
but we were full as the moon: heavy, as she sunk soundlessly into her crib.
The sand feels less forgiving when it's cold, she said, but at least we are less forgotten.
The trees held us until we were only pebbles along the shore, rocking against Mother Earth,
until her body was wrapped into mine,
and I finally felt the drums begin to sound.
The SingerMy grandmother used to put on a week-long music/drama camp at my church every year. This particular year, we were doing "A Technicolor Promise," the story of Noah's Ark, and I was Noah. I remember sitting at the round table in the back of the church, with the chairs I could never climb on to because my eight-year-old legs were too short. You've got to open your voice, he told me. I was so proud when we came to my elementary school one year and sang with his band, the Dixieland Pops, me, smiling and waving from my spot on the gym floor.
John, Ed's pastor for many years, would tell you about the time Ed led the carol sing-a-long at a Reynolds family Christmas Eve party in 1976. He directed us in the most aerobic version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" I have ever heard, John would say. Or he might tell you about how he always knew which stories in his sermons would make Ed cry. John would look down at Ed every Sunday, and sure enough, the tears would be flowing. Or he might tell you ab
TraumaIt was apparent that my sense of danger was lacking by the age of three. That year, we were on one of our many plane rides home from my grandparent's home in northern Canada. Close to arrival, we became entangled in an unexpected snowstorm. Visibility was poor and the wind had a mind of its own. The flight attendant tried to sound calm as she alerted us of the "unexpected turbulence" (in case we didn't already know) but it was clear that landing safely would be a challenge. Movement sickness came in the form of 300 foot drops in a millisecond. Some held brown paper bags tightly around their lips while others silently prayed, but not me. I loved the feeling of my body being pressed into the scratchy blue seats during take-off and the thrill of bumpy rides. When the plane finally touched the runway and slowed to a halt, passengers released a collective sigh of relief. My pupils were dilated with excitement and my grin could not get any wider. Surrounded by irritable, green-faced passenge
Flying.I am in a crowded room and I am yelling. I am yelling and I am in a crowded room. I am closing my eyes and I am holding my breath but when I feel my swollen lungs scraping my rib cage, I am forced to release the air locked inside of my chest. In the blues of my still closed eyelids, I can see the curvature of smiling faces in this new world I would open my eyes to see. But nothing has changed. I am still here.
One girl walks toward me and I recognize her face. I recognize her face as she looks right through me. But without blinking, her arm darts forward and she grabs my side. "I need that," I scream. I only glance down to the hole in my side where a spleen would be when I feel another hand dive into my stomach and pull out more of my insides. "You are supposed to love me," I cry. Suddenly, they all run toward me, pulling out muscles and organs, bones and skin. The emptiness becomes greater and greater. "Why would you do this to me?"
And with eyes glistening and pupils dilated, they ga
There is something about the words that slip off of your tongue,
the way you hide, like a shadow from the sunlight
something about the way you always cross your arms over your stomach
something about the mountains and the valleys
makes me wonder.
My hands are covered in oil they are covered in oil and I am trying so hard to hold on but I cannot and all I hear is -- -- -- and the sound of your anger being released into the world and the taste of your skin is sinking into my taste buds and suddenly I cannot stand, I am lifting up one leg and falling on the other I am lifting up one leg and falling on the other until I am a pile of bones on the floor screaming, what do you want from me what do you want from me, still trying to hold you close.
There is a place in the middle of the woods that I like to go
A place where I can climb so high
no one can see me
no one can touch me
I climb so high that I think I might fall
But feel her inside of me,
laughing with joy