Now I Have Grown

When I was a child we would walk
through the dusk-warm breezes, down the street;
always parking in the same place,
by the magnolia tree, with its too-sweet smell,
so strong it filled my throat.
And I would bend down,
and pick the petals up, and run my fingers over them,
like feeling something from a place
that the world had forgotten to touch. Back then the evenings
took a magic air, and the sidewalk which we walked was holy ground.
And we would go to the temple, with her heavy
steps, and high and slanting thrones to either side,
where I and other children climbed like lions made of stone.
We would make our way into her embrace,
the temple, with her long windows and high ceilings,
curves and arches meeting like
the harmonies of a song,
her sanctuary just the right size
for a child’s heart.

Now time has passed, and I have grown.
My womanhood I am finding in her sanctuary,
sitting beneath her ceilings, with my cane in my hand.
And the songs we sing sound like lullabies, but my voice is deeper now;
I sing with old women, and I am a woman.
I sing with old women, and I am a child.
I see the people who I knew, but never knew their names.
I look at them and see their backs are bent, their hair is grey.
I sing with old men, and I look at my father.
I sing with old men, and I look at my father.
There are new children now, as children are;
a little girl is jumping in the aisles.
I watch her while she laughs and climbs the stairs,
each step carefully, as I did once.
Each step carefully, as I do now.
I watch the little girl, and smile;
I watch the little girl and see myself.
I watch the little girl, and smile,
and know I am a woman now, because she is a child.

Scribbling on Seashells

Trigger warning: Though not the intent of the poem, portions of this could potentially hit on a suicide trigger.

I scribble out words on
fragments of my seashell skin, like
Cracked jars of peach cream currency, like
Shards of broken homes washed up on
white sand beaches.

Searching fingers pry at my insides
fitted in my seashell skin, and
I dance on rocks until I
shatter.
I tap out whispers to sit in my shell like
sea songs.

I am turning my breasts into
tablets,
My thighs are too-smooth pages for
soliloquies.
I scratch out sonnets on the shell of my smile.

I am seeping from the seashell cracks like
seawater,
This makeshift house and I must part.
Let the sea snails slip in to be marked
by ephemeral markings,
Let the sea sounds wash away my songs.

Speak English

When I was younger people would tell me to
speak English because I guess the words I used were
Toolongtoowrongtoo
Obsessiveimpressiveprecise and
Specific like
“iambic pentameter”
means what I mean when I say it and
nobody knows what
“trochaic tetrameter” means so stop
showing off
and isn’t it funny how sometimes I can’t
understand English at
all

and
I guess maybe I speak in
languages that don’t make sense like
ReferenceAllusionFictional
character on a tv show and
ReadingAboutShakespeareAt5in the
Morning and
AccidentallyPickedUpSlang because I
Forgot to stop trying to fit in

And sometimes
ColorTasteSoundNumber wave
When I mean
TouchFeelSmellSee think
or
FeelingWriggleScribbleWrithe
When I mean
SenseHappyBurstingItch

Like sometimes my mouth forgets how to make
words or my brain forgets to
send them and I end up
prrrrrrrring like a cat and
flapflapping like
my hands are loose lips sinking
ship after ship after ship

And sometimes people talk and the words fly
past my head like particles of dust that
flutter out of the way of my hands  and when I try to pin them down they
speed like
dreams.

And when I can talk in
sentences and understand
how people string together thoughts I guess they call those
“Good days”
Even though they change by
hours
But when I talk my brain gives me words like a
textbook and I guess I’m still doing it
wrong.

And when I was in high school I could list my symptoms like I was
WebMD but maybe
that’s because I spent three years with no one but
doctors
But fourteen year olds don’t talk like
medical reports so I guess I was
faking.

And sometimes when I talk I forget that I need
Tone
or my voice won’t move the way it needs to and my face won’t
curve and my throat won’t
laugh and they told me in linguistics that English wasn’t tonal but I don’t think
that’s true.

And people who are good in English class you’d think would be good
at English but I can
only read things half the time and sometimes
English stops making sense and I understand
sarcasm but only in theory and I understand
metaphor but only in books and I understand
people but only when I can map their arcs like
waves inside my head

And I spent my life mapping the English that they speak in
written down worlds  and still only grasp it sometimes
but the English that they speak in
life
eludes me.

Hypersensitive

Sometimes, everything gets loud like
the volume on the world is turned up past
eleven and I
wish that I could make the noises stop but they keep coming while I
try to crush my ears beneath my
hands to shut out noises every
taptaptap on the
keyboard
every
crinklecrackle of plastic while my mom unwraps her
candybar
every
crashclatterBANG of dishes  against
dishes but the
speakers in my brain are
broken, so I’m left
staring
at the place where a knob should be
but isn’t.