Posted on: Thursday, January 7, 2016

star-bright

When I tell you you're beautiful I'm not talking about magazines, the glossy hair and the smoky eyes and the just-right smile that belong to the waiting arms of society's embrace. I am talking about you in the half-light of the evening, the way your profile glows in the shadowy dark. The way the curves of your cheeks make just the right shape. Your lips are thin and your mouth is down-turned while you read and the word "perfect" burbles to my own mouth before I can stop it. You are perfect, every bit of you, the gangly long legs and the thick eyelashes that close over your star-bright brown-green eyes. You are not a hair commercial, you are not a movie heroine. You are the pinnacle, though. Every inch of you just makes sense. The very you of you -- you, in the world. It's the most beautiful thing there is.

Posted on: Friday, December 4, 2015

Her strength.

She says her arms are threaded up, that it feels like the threads are pulling through her skin. "Now imagine the thread unraveling slowly, and that's what my anxiety feels like. And the threads go faster and faster, and then I just fall apart so quickly."

She has scratch marks on her cheeks because scratching her cheeks feels good, but then she has to make the scratches even. One scratch down on the left, one scratch down on the right. Again and again.

She pushes her teeth because her teeth "feel weird."

She had a panic attack, hyperventilating outside of the school office, crying and gagging.

She is eight-years-old, and it isn't fair. It just isn't fair that the world assaults her this way. The fear and the tears in her green-brown eyes. When she's happy they look like the light shining through an overhead canopy of leaves in the late parts in summer. When she's sad they are a torment, a storm rolling over mountains.

But I don't want to write poetry about her anxiety, about her innocence, about a childhood laced in irrational panic.

Yesterday she did her multiplication homework and put her spelling words in alphabetical order. She played Crossy Road on her Kindle. She ate a hot dog and pretzels and read the second Percy Jackson book. She stepped gingerly through mud on a walk and caught a toad in her hands.

Yesterday I watched her run fearlessly into the darkening night, her purple-sequin cardigan dipping low on her back, baring her pale, delicate shoulders to the descending cold.

She could raise a whole city on those small shoulders. She could balance the rising moon.

Posted on: Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Here are the blankets

The Sciences Sing a Lullaby
Albert Goldbarth

Physics says: go to sleep. Of course
you’re tired. Every atom in you
has been dancing the shimmy in silver shoes
nonstop from mitosis to now.
Quit tapping your feet. They’ll dance
inside themselves without you. Go to sleep.

Geology says: it will be all right. Slow inch
by inch America is giving itself
to the ocean. Go to sleep. Let darkness
lap at your sides. Give darkness an inch.
You aren’t alone. All of the continents used to be
one body. You aren’t alone. Go to sleep.

Astronomy says: the sun will rise tomorrow,
Zoology says: on rainbow-fish and lithe gazelle,
Psychology says: but first it has to be night, so
Biology says: the body-clocks are stopped all over town
and
History says: here are the blankets, layer on layer, down and down. 

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