You could rattle the stars,” she whispered. “You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most.
I’m so sorry I’ve been terrible with messages today. I have a pounding headache, and I can’t find any words that make sense. Hope all you raindrops understand. I promise I’ll try to be better tomorrow.
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
He is exactly the poem I wanted to write.
Ma, I don’t know how to tell you this
so I’m just going to say it.
Little Tommy runs inside slapped in mud
and says he’s dirty.
I’m dirty, Ma. I’m dirty in ways that can’t be washed.
At eight you used to say to never forget
my knees—back or front—to scrub hard,
let go of all the filth of a good day.
I can’t remember the last time I had a good day, Ma.
I scrub my knees and I scrub until they burn
a bright pink but I’m still dirty.
Do you hear me? I’m still dirty, Ma.
Yes, I went to church last Sunday and prayed
but I think I made the holy water dirty too.
I think I ruined it before it could save me.
The boys always say my name wrong but I still
turn around, I go along, I let them call me
what they want as long as they want me.
Do you get it now, Ma?
I have grime under my fingernails and my stomach
is full of swallowed regret and I’m dirty.
I look in the mirror and pronounce my own name
wrong, too. I go along. Until it sounds real. Honest.
I don’t know how to tell you this
without breaking your heart, without you
checking behind my knees and nodding.
I don’t know how to tell you I’m dirty without
begging you to please not say,
“I know, I know. A mother always knows.”
Love, you are bigger than what any boy left behind, and you are stronger than the weight he left on your chest. You’ve got an entire life of loving and living to do, and you can’t stop for anybody. Not a single person.
Here is the handful
of shadow I have brought back to you:
this decay, this hope, this mouthful
of dirt, this poetry.
What if love is made and nothing else?
asked Narcissus, leaning over the green iris of water.
cried Echo from the green cochlea of the woods.
And they were both right.
And they were both lonely.
Oh oh oh, this is too much for me you’re such a sunflower, thank you so much.