A Braided History
Liquid sloshes in my belly as I fall over.
I sold my food stamps to my roommate to get by.
The acrid taste of rotgut liquor is still in my mouth.
I turned to sex work to pay the rent.
My friends try to help me up but I only fall again.
I was nearly homeless.
I complain, “something is biting me.”
My boyfriend was jobless too.
My friends, frustrated, insist that nothing is biting me.
He lived with his parents.
They are wrong.
I stayed there a lot.
I have fallen into an ant bed.
They bought the food and I cooked.
Red welts line my back and stomach.
A mutually beneficial arrangement.
I get up, at last, brushing ants off of my clothes and person.
It felt like luxury.
My friends wrangle me inside and into bed.
It felt like home.
(Originally published in Cloves Literary)
He used me to bury his secrets. A small, strange child, too fragile to hold my innocent secrets. The scars he left remind me of the event but I struggle to find the meaning. It must have been a big vital secret to bury it so deep, to give it to the quiet one to carry. I was too young to understand and it is too far away now to remember. I am left with a memory of memory like a faded copy. It doesn’t matter, I tell myself. Some secrets can stay buried for all I care. There is nothing there.
He used me to bury his secrets. Words slipped to me like folded notes passed in class. Words that made me dance with the intimacy of it all. The pained joy that he would choose me as his burial ground. By sharing his secrets, he made me a secret, a light hidden under a bushel that only he could see. I was his secret repository of words. Soon, I kept myself a secret as well, holding our words close to me like a precious thing, letting him bury them in my skin. Soon, he started keeping his thoughts secret from me. Soon, silence.
I am a secret to myself, too full of the secrets of others. They are too heavy to carry and so, I dig the words out. I kiss them as they leave, these former parts of me. My spring has passed and it is well past autumn now. I let the cold, clean air heal my scars. I long to dance with words of my own, to weave secrets of my own, and uncover the secret that is myself.
Dog Days Crush
The green summer sunset casting golden
light onto cut grass and watermelon
patch, pink sweaty thighs like blue skies, olden
days of years gone by, summer is heaven
for memories, smell the coconut tan,
chlorine and water are a magical
ocean, the windows rolled down in the van,
Letting light dance between your radical
Forgiveness, braids in your hair while I stare
out over the horizon, wondering
how long I have been gone and who knows where,
and who knows who has made my fluttering
heart go round the maypole, pink, green, and blue,
I wonder if you know how I love you.