Saturday, April 21, 2012

day eight.

i love you like
and bare feet,
and momma's voice,
and fall.

Friday, April 20, 2012

day seven.



my sister was born
on friday the thirteenth,
with blood in her mouth.

she wouldn't take our mother's milk,
stopped breathing twice in her sleep,
nona read scripture over her 
the entire first night.

aunt drina says
she didn't want this life.

she's too attracted to high places
and hot things; fascinated by 
sharp edges. we watch her
in the bath because she
likes to see how long
she can hold her breath. 

we love her,
knowing we'll 
lose her.

she's thirteen now,
and compelled by fire.
nona stays up 
praying all night.

aunt drina and uncle luca
tie bells on all the doors,
sprinkle cinnamon in
the part of her hair.

she falls asleep with the 
windows open, and
wakes up in the fields.

they say she didn't 
want this life. 

day six.

when your father left. 

your mother 
shacked up
with a milkman.

but somehow, that
didn't stop you from
growing up with holes
in your bones. 

her cardiologist boyfriend
never did much to mend
your fractured heart. 

the chef
couldn't fill
the hole 
in the pit
of your 

the empty spaces
of your father's 
always void. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

day five.

an exchange of regret. 

we were an amalgam of apologies. 

"i'm sorry," she told me one morning,
dawn light grey on her cheekbones,
"i'm sorry i made you carry my mistakes
around under your tongue."

"i'm sorry," i told her on the train.
my nails were painted yellow,
because i missed the sun.
"i'm sorry i left your shame
out on my laundry line. i never
meant to air your secrets."

"i'm sorry i rubbed salt on your 
wounds," she says under an 
oak tree in the park. "i thought it 
would keep them from becoming

"i'm sorry i cursed your dead mother,"
i whispered, "and put salt in your tea.
i just wanted to see if you cry anymore."

"i'm sorry, i'm just sad."

"i'm sorry, i'm just tired."

"i'm sorry, i just miss you."

"i'm sorry, i'm just too
sorry to do this anymore."

and one day, our apologies
ran out.

Friday, April 13, 2012

day four.

a death story.

you have romanticized death.

you need to know that it won't be beautiful,
it won't feel like flying, you won't be at peace.
there will be no moment of clarity 
before you hit the ground,
swallow your tongue, 
watch your own brains hit the wall.

you'll just be a terrified girl,
bleeding out on the bathroom

they won't remember you for it. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

day three.

the verdict. 

cancer is a curse word in our family
a vulgar blasphemy, a profanity,
a death knell no one
with our surname has survived,
we shrink from it.

naima slapped herself in the face
when they told her it had come to you,
let out a sound like a dying animal, 
she was wounded,

"we can't get away from it,"
she screams, tries to tear
at her face before they stop her.
"it's following us."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

day two.

tale of a journeyman.

your father sowed a restless seed in you,
curling fingers, migrating tongue, 
you were born fidgeting.
how did he manage to weave his 
inconsistency into your dna?
it isn't fair that you were born into
your mother's arms a wanderer,
the soles of your feet itching.

i don't know how
to teach you to stay. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

day one.

april fool.

"you fooled me,"
she says into the receiver,
lips slick with pink lipstick
and disappointment.

by now, his name has begun to sound
like a dial tone, like a busy signal,
she doesn't remember what it was like
not to miss him, not to be waiting on him.

his voice is just the right amount
of apathetic, and her nervous heels
leave scuff marks on the kitchen floor.

"april fool's," he says.
the dial tone hurts her ears.


thirty poems in thirty days. join me?