One with Us

I hold you and you
close to my heart
warm warmth
gooey love
against my chest

tiny faces,
racing heartbeats
button noses
similar to mine

You
should
remind
me
of
the
one
I don’t have.

Instead—
your faint snores vibrate,
awakening a newness I never could’ve dreamt up
with the one I won’t have

I hold you and you
close to my heart;
with us–you, you, and me
I am one.

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To X

Yesterday we unpacked the n-word.

Me–an Indian teacher; them–a seventh grade class.

Yesterday we unpacked the n-word: its ability to dehumanize, its reformation and reclamation, its ownership

We barely scratched the Surface.

I ache to do it right: be a steering voice to this class of twelve white kids and one. black. boy.

—but—

They will never be complete—these talks

for they will walk out; he will walk Out

and I cannot protect them. Him. from the deep-set veins of prejudice that flow, drenching every surface that he will step on.

So I look into their eyes. His eyes.

and try

to offer a tiny slice of the opposite each day he enters my room.

and hope it’s enough.

The Plains

I used to cling, one-handed to sides of cliffs, pulled myself up

to every summit.

I used to speed

downhill-no hands-crash to a halt

and stand back up, broken bones and all

Chasing the cliffs,

landing the downs

’twas my home,

my pill

whose side affects were known so well

Today

I squint at the solid ground in front of me, the plains, so foreign

I consider changing my shoes, my clothes, my mind.

How can these plains ever compare to catching the wind?

Will these plains live up to that one-handed swing?

These meadows, in front

feel mundane and still

so I station myself to see see see

that’s when I grasp a glint of lavender and bright bright yellow–it’s there in the distance calling my name.

Permission Granted

I glance across the bridge at you

in the distance,

now blurred around the edges

The old days are lanterns floating gentle into the sky.

When first I spotted that yellow-white flame, I took out my spool and threw the string up, once, twice, thrice

It never hooked,

and I stood under its light pacing in the memories of what was, pacing with indecision of what should and could be

Now you

You stand, back to me, miles and miles away

on a path I can barely make out

And I,

Well I have granted myself permission to step in any direction that feels firm under my feet.

U.s.

I want it all.

Not a slice, bite, lick no I want.

us like the us that spoke of nail polish, and humidity and swim strokes and lipsticks

I want like a little child driving by her favorite playground and can’t get out to her swings

Us like the free swinging whenever the fuck you feel like talking day or night about whatever the fuck came to mind no filter

I want like the teenage girl who cannot wait to get to lunch to tell her best friend about the look she got from her most recent crush

Us like who rained Bitmojis and emojis not even needing words because we saw each other, really saw each other

I want and

yet I pause every time we speak: will I use the right words, the right emoji, the right tone to communicate my thoughts purely…

The faded edges of who we were strangle my voice at times but I fight it, them, for this is real to me, for me.

Will

What. Will. Happen. To. You. And. I.

Will I do what I always do, what I’m so used to doing?

Will I be different, courageous?

Will I see the reigns are not–no matter how much they felt like it– in my hands?

Will I allow us to evolve without trying to control, manipulate the end results?

Will I let it, let us lie–free of my tight grasp that I keep saying is in the name of love?

Will I–

will

I

to act without my need to hold you tight

Will

I

let go and feel the breeze of next

Will

I.