28 March 2013



I am a tender thing, and when I am a tender thing, I chew on the fat of my misgivings. Small and jagged like stones, my privileges gather: visible, inconvenient, dangerous. They occupy the corners, the space between each tooth in my wanting mouth, wanting more of the fat, the stuff that lacks nourishment but maintains indecency and ample amounts of tenderness.


I am well-intentioned, but I am not you. I do not know what you face. I do not know the ideas brewing in your brain, the shapes of injustice carrying weight in your own life. I am only a child, a tender thing, chewing on information, breaking my teeth on confrontations, confirmations of my being me, my being white, my being female-born, my being. I am a tender thing, because without missteps, without compassion, I am not myself.


My privileges are also me, pieces of my broken teeth, and everyday, I try not to swallow them.

25 March 2013


As long as we are swallowing air
in our little glass bubbles, and as long as we aim
our sights above water, we can make do,
swilling our chemical soda and taking candy
from strangers.

I only did that once--take candy--but once was enough.
It was because he didn't care for it,
each wrapper filled
with little sugary puffs of air.
I breathed life into his mouth,
but it never reached his lungs.

I poured myself
to fill the contours of the glass,
surprised at how well
I adapted to the shape,
until the cracks showed
on the other side,
and the air I swallowed
stretched my gills,
and the soda I drank
gave me a headache. I only want
to be seen. I want
the softness of my ghost self
to wrap around your ghost self. I want
to look over the rim together
and see beyond the glass shell
and into the wild of a fresh start.

12 March 2013

Pasta and Tomato Paste

Is this my life?
Am I breathing
- Metric

With a life carefully measured,
one can find time to tear-up
between four and five p.m.,
before the buzzer rings
for the next shift.
A smart one is a quiet one, a careful one,
refusing to spill milk
to cry over.
"When you're finished with school,
your life will be fine," they said,
thumbs under suspenders,
and I believed them.
Instead, I'm the little engine that could,
and I'm running out of steam.
I'm the little hamster running furiously in the wheel,
working hard, blood pumping
to all the right places,
but getting absolutely nowhere.
"We need to know
where our students are coming from,"
they said. "Some of them
use food pantries."
And I know, because I've seen young people there
while I'm picking up my own generic pasta,
my own off-brand tomato paste.
I'm told that this is America now.
I'm told I'm one of the lucky ones.
Some days, between four and five p.m., I forget.
I allow my brain to shove that file,
full of blessings and prayers,
into the back of the cabinet
so that I can be angry,
so that I can be sad
before starting another shift at a different job,
before trying to be quiet and careful, and failing.