vessel

don’t believe

the mirrors—

 

except in cars;

and even then,

 

in moderation.

i’m headed out

 

into the 3d world:

where i’m visible

 

in full—not just from

the front and torso up.

 

i need to feel real

pages in my hands,

 

real road under

my wheels. i’m

 

listening to tori,

trying to feel some-

 

thing. the truth is,

i don’t like music with

 

words anymore. there

are too many words in

 

the world. this is probably

how some people feel about

 

poetry; it’s how i feel about

poetry, sometimes. and yet,

 

here i am adding to the heap.

in my dream, my mom and dad

 

are young and happy. they look

like they did on their wedding day:

 

beaming and laughing and

of a piece. but we are also there,

 

we three girls. they’re drinking

red wine and being the life of the

 

dinner party: a glimpse into the

before. in another dream, i am

 

being assaulted by a robotic arm

with a giant camera eye. it’s still

 

attached to the corner where the wall

meets the ceiling as it roves over my

 

body, pressing down hard on me

with a hum. somehow it’s the whole

 

length of me. i think of the incubus

in florida, but after. in the moment,

 

in the dream, i’m just trying to

cry out for help—but it may all be

 

stuck in my head. there’s a loud

alarm going off that i think i’ve

 

triggered. how do dreams

become 3d? or is it all just

 

smoke and mirrors? i am a

vessel of shifting memory:

 

moving from bliss to terror to

bliss again. the wide extremes of

 

being. maybe this is how we

learn the middle, the balance.

 

as i sit and think of the years,

the sharp ache is finally gone—

 

but in its wake, a deep

loneliness that has

 

learned to expect,

and love, solitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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pitch

 

i’m in the guest bedroom,

writing down all the hymns.

 

i’m guessing at some of the

words; welling up at others:

 

streams of mercy

never ceasing.

 

there’s a built-in happiness

in the notes, the chords;

 

the memory of fingers

flying over piano keys.

 

i am wooden wind chimes

in a metal world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

here’s the truth i never really told

my eyes have not seen

nearly enough—

and, yet, too much.

out of the corner of one:

 

my hand—bent like

my grandmother’s,

like i’m cut

in half.

 

part of

my privilege

is

ashamed.

 

i must allow myself to undress,

to let go, to see what’s under

the show: this is the time.

this is where i am, taking a stand—

 

i do not

want you

in my

land.

 

but hear the

crickets;

they are for

everyone.

 

how i wanted to be a

miniature in your

china cabinet, tucked

up in ruby red glory,

 

un

aware of

the

imprisonment.

 

i am hard.

i am glass.

i cannot change

time, space, the past.

 

the mind does not

want you to know

your self, your

iron-on heart,

 

how to sit with the

hurt and be a light,

a lamp, a fire

extinguisher.

 

how can

hate

talk to

hate?

 

i am laughing; i am charlie

chaplin weeping on the

inside. first time’s the charm;

after that, it’s just repeats.

 

i am alone.

a heart in a house.

does a house

need a heart?

 

laid up for nine months, like gestation, and

what was born? i am turning into stone.

how can you force a turtle? if you

push it, it just goes skidding.

 

if i stand still long enough, can i cheat time?

can i drill down into space and rewind?

can i find my inner child, waiting there

with a shell in her outstretched hands—

 

saying—

here, you’re

going to need

this.

 

i do not have the

stomach for a

revolution. i am not

my grandmother.

close carry

i used to fall asleep in the car,

riding home at night after a

 

long outing. i remember the hum

of the road, the flashing head

 

lamps; i remember the sudden quiet

of the engine cutting off, daddy scooping

 

me up in his arms to carry me in. some

times a shoe would slip, a mumble, a word—

 

a hint that i wasn’t completely asleep;

but he would carry me up the stairs into

 

the house, up the stairs into my bed.

i don’t remember what was said: just

 

the strong arms around me, the

scent of man, of capability, of love.

 

later there would be times i would try

to recreate this safe feeling, this

 

extended touch, this close carry.

but it was never the same.

 

i.

i wake in the night to a

different realm; pulled from

 

my fuzzy yellow refuge. the

voices i meet are darker, thicker,

 

carrying something un-

speakably heavy across the

 

dimensions. every one i have

ever known—even my own

 

sisters, mother, father: sleeping

just feet from me—feel thousands

 

of memories away. i alone am

standing watch; am a crumbling wall

 

between what i thought i knew and the

all—knowing—all—encompassing

 

void

 

i don’t know why they are

visiting upon me; but one thing

 

i do know as i crouch in the deep-

dark pockets of the hallway, shaking

 

and weeping and lost:      i am

different.

some nights the moon is a train

it takes me a while

to love things.

 

but then i am

loyally locked in.

 

the colonial blue

house holds the

 

key, but no door.

in the back-ground,

 

the long bow of the

cello sings up from

 

the depths. one floor up,

children grow in their

 

beds. dad used to tease

about putting us in a vice

 

overnight. i took his words

to heart: the dreams that

 

shortened me still follow—

strong shadows of

 

nails and hair; of things

that once lived, fighting

 

to weave them-selves

back in, back to life.

 

some nights the moon

is a train. i am boarding

 

her, i am carrying

alstroemerias, i am

 

smiling as the tiny

gear of a whisper

 

turns. the shrieking,

pulsing, turning to

 

blood is all in my

head; out-side, the

 

view is silent: a giant

wheel of compliance.