Only Weakness

Tiny hands
big eyes
a voice that always asks
Why?

So many bad things
in this world
and my only weakness
is the child
looking up at me
tiny hand in mine
and I can’t help but
try to bring them
better days

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Don’t Understand

I do not have
many friends
and that is okay.
People aren’t nearly as
interesting as they
believe themselves to be.

I thought you
were my friend
but now I’m
not so sure.
You’re still interesting
but you don’t
understand.

You ask
“Why don’t you
go out more?”
Say
“He doesn’t love you.
Just go find
someone new.”
But it’s
not as easy
for me
when I seem to
see through people
so quickly.

Yes
I’m in love with
my best friend.
Yes
I know it’s one-sided
but I also know how
rare it is
for me to feel
so invested
in someone.

I don’t want to
let that go.

With the Future

For Leila Grace, with love from your cousin Caity.

I often hold hands and walk
with the future.
She leads me along
and tells me we’re both princesses.
I ask if her baby brother is a prince
since we’re princesses.
She responds by saying it’s
just pretend.
I guess Owen doesn’t get to be royalty
this time.

I often sit and paint
with the future.
She adds leaves and apples
to the stem of my rose
and invents new flowers
of the simplest kind
in all different colors.
I ask her what her favorite color is.
“This one.”
She points to
a different color in her paint set
every time.

I often sing and dance
with the future.
She hums nameless tunes
like the ones I used to hum
the secret songs known only
to the very young
that mean nothing and everything
all at the same time.
Today she is teaching me
how to jump
and my mother takes her other hand
so we can help her jump higher
that a three-year-old ever could
on her own.

I often talk
with the future
and she tells me
anything is possible
but some things are
just pretend.
I look at her
and I can tell
the future is bright
intelligent
and practical
with an infinite well of
creativity and curiosity
and I cannot wait
to see where the future
takes me next.

Beside Me

I couldn’t stop crying, and you just sat with me.  We were both exhausted beyond consciousness, but adrenaline raced through me as my anxiety took over.  You talked of the mundane.  Of your aunt.  Of your cat.  Of the time we’d spent together the day before.  Eventually, I calmed enough to sleep, too tired to do anything else, and we said goodnight before drifting off.

It was way past when you normally go to bed when I got home from work, upset and irrational.  A family party was why I was so lucky to find you up, and I was grateful for your presence.  I still am, every time you send me a message.  Every time you call.  I can only hope you continue to stay with me, beside me, no matter how far away you are.

The End of June

By the end of June
the air outside burns your lungs
and it becomes incredibly
difficult to breathe.

By the end of June
storms roll in
with an angry wind
and a terrible sort of beauty.

By the end of June
it’s hard to do anything
and no one really
wants to move.

By the end of June
the frost has killed the
summer roses you would have
picked to put upon her grave.

By the end of June
it’s the middle of December
and we’re all a little broken
missing a mother
a daughter
a teacher
a friend
and it takes a little while
before dancing feels okay.


For June Marie Poodiack, my dance teacher and friend of more than twelve years.  I’m grateful to have known you for so long, and I will miss you every time I dance.

January 31, 1972 – December 16, 2014

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Radio Silence

It’s like I’m
always getting
your voicemail
except without the
personalized greeting.

Calling it four weeks
hurts less than
saying it’s been
a month
since you messaged me last.

It scares me
how quickly
time can seem to pass
without you here.

This radio silence
this static at the
other end of the line is
slowly unraveling my seams.

Four weeks
and I worry about you
a little more
every day.

Promise

It flutters like a hummingbird
rapid and delicate
beating against my ribcage
in an attempt to escape
and fly to you
across an ocean.

It chains me to my notebook
demanding ink be
spilled on paper
until words no longer hold meaning
and I run out of thoughts
exhausted.

It pulls me from the ground
making me float
among the clouds and stars
letting me kiss the moon goodnight
as I am lulled to sleep
by the song sung by the wind.

It is a promise
to be there as soon as I can
as long as I can
and the start of a
future with you
both terrifying and wonderful
to begin in a city
an ocean away from
what has always been my home.

Plucking Petals

He loves me
He loves me not
He loves me
He loves me not
and so on
plucking petals
from a posy
asking a question I
already know the answer to
asking it to the
flowers he gave me
African violets
tucked in my hair
behind my ear
soft and velvety
He loves me
He loves me not
He loves me

File Under “Interesting”

There’s something that
draws me to you
A resemblance to him
or perhaps the way you
dress and talk
It’s not romantic
I still love him
Sometimes
the times I
miss him most
I think how much
easier it would be
if I could
love you instead
But I
made a promise
that I
intend to keep
so I’ll mark you
“interesting”
and try to
keep you near
And on the nights I
don’t stop talking
about him
I hope you don’t mind
my being
in love with him