Leaves like wings
I watch the butterflies dance around the oak tree,
Fluttering in and out, with the breath of the breeze.
But if I am silent enough, If the blood stops rushing,
I can feel wind from its wings, like waves in seas.
Let it be silent, in always reminding me,
That the leaves will fall, and I am like the tree.
The flowers are long gone, now I bear fruit.
And as the branches empty, my heart follows suit.
I think back to climbing trees, my knees always scraped
but my hands became strong, holding roses and thorns.
Soon, the butterflies stop dancing, they land one last time,
Falling like leaves, but the tree never mourns.
I suppose it knows, what we would all find out.
That butterflies will be born again, it does not doubt.
But I will sit, in the dead of winter,
And long to feel the tree, this ache much like a splinter.
A dim sun rises, over mountains made of mist,
And we became cold in the rain and dark in our towers.
Until the days become long, they whisper to me,
That the butterflies are dancing again, and I finally have flowers.
Drawing ever closer to the
Crematory, my hands
Shook and quaked,
My stomach tightened,
My eyes watered, and
With images of babies
Engulfed in those
Infernal flames, of
Innocence gripped in
The hands of evil.
My mother, beside me,
Was reticent, for once.
Her face was shrunken
Suddenly, there were
Only a few steps
Before I reached
The pit of doom.
Three more steps.
Alas, one more...
I thought of
My little garden.
The passion fruit flowers
Passion fruit flowers
My family torn apart,
And my customs
And beliefs all deprived
My bygone days spent
Playing on the
The giggling and chatting at
And my dream
To become a professional
Were all swept
Inside of me, it was
As if the "merry stream"
Through was frozen
Or parched, never
Slowly, I forced
My mind to shut
Out the noise of
The noise of people
Dying, of the
Fiery pit, of
As if to embrace
Once and for all.
All too soon,
I felt, smelled,
A New Day
Beyond the edge of the trees and silver morning mists,
the ground lay silently, and when in darkness,
bound to come,
the ground sleeps.
The air is soft and cool
beneath blankets and sheets of leaves and branches I could see
a bird's nest with small brown twigs, leaves, branches, and granite rocks.
I saw apple boughs laden with blossoms,
and a breeze sighed silently in the night air.
The moon is full and watching the land
with silvery, ivory light
like a big bright lantern.
When the sun rises,
the light shines all through the forest,
a new day begins.
for one purpose.
i am meant to be cheap,
dispensed out in varying degrees of plastic
to elementary students
they call it
the way they can eat
soup or salad
i exist to be malleable,
shaped to the whims of the day.
soup, salad, pasta, soggy broccoli,
i must shovel it all
as the public school system
forks and spoons,
they must settle
the inexpensive alternative,
discarded after every meal.
but never seen, nor heard.
if they were to listen,
i could tell them
that my name isn't spork at all.
i do not fit into the label
they have chosen for me.
Where It Hurts
Your hands are often too rough. The skin at the edges of your nail beds is peeled back and hardened and has, on occasion, been known to bleed without warning. If I run my thumb along the inside of your palm, I know exactly where it will catch on raised callouses. And even when I’m alone, I can feel the spot where your fingers would rest in the webbing of my own. My skin is electric shocks at the thought of the places where your fingertips most often linger. Nerve endings, attention-wrought. Breath, hitched in tightrope suspension. And I can count your freckles without you in the room. I could draw a map of your skeleton from memory. Place each rib in its exact location. Carve the precise depth of your clavicle. I know the pattern your teeth leave on each of my hips and how your tongue feels restless against my own. My neck can recall each spot where your lips chap and how often your front teeth push past them. I am violently aware of the spots where your hair refuses to lie against your scalp and instead reaches skyward. The sighs and stutters that litter your speech patterns. I can feel the sharp intake of your breath when my teeth close just a bit too hard on your frame. And that slight leak of CO2 in nighttime stillness. I sleep, dizzy in your exhales as they fill up my inhales. I would swear I have been constructed from the realization of the space that you fill in relation to all of the emptiness I leave behind. And you forgot the color of my eyes.
*this piece is from my newest collection baby, sweetheart, honey coming in January and available wherever books are sold.
Gender is complicated. That's something we're beginning to realize. At first, we thought it was only a boy or girl. But now we have transgenderism and nonbinary in the mix, not to mention unisex. However, this isn't some new phenomena that's suddenly taking form in the last decade or so. This has been going back since the start of human civilization. Are you familiar with the story of the goddess Ishtar's descent through the underworld and how Ea, the god of wisdom, created an androgynous being named Asu-shu-namir to save her? If not, I suggest reading up on it. It's pretty interesting.
To define gender isn't as straight forward as one would believe. Normally, we would identify gender based on reproductive organs. However, I believe that gender is defined by how one feels about themselves. But even then, I'm not a hundred percent sure if that's accurate. Perhaps there really is no true definition of gender. I'm not entirely sure, but then again, perhaps it's really none of my business. If one identifies as man, woman, or nonbinary, then so be it. It is not my place to judge, nor my concern. As long as they're happy with themselves that's all that matters.
Unfortunately, there are always going to be those who don't understand or refuse to understand that demoralizes people who are different. These people use their governmental positions and their church sermons to decry and shame those that don't identify with their sense of 'the norm'. If you're one who identifies that there are only two genders, I understand your position, but unfortunately, it's not that simple. And to remain ignorant of that fact is sad. If you're the kind of person that believes that transgenderism is the result of some sort of physiological or psychological reasoning, that sort of thinking is what demonized innocent people for trying to be comfortable for who they are. Keep in mind that we believed (and some still believe) the same thing about homosexuality and the idea to "fix" them was conversion therapy, which led to many LGBT+ people getting abused both physically and psychologically.
The bottom line is whatever you identify as learn to love yourself and don't be cruel to others about it. And for everyone else show some compassion and humanity.
The world is ever changing and evolving. Time to evolve with it.
Mint Lip Gloss
My Grandma gave me cosmetics for the holidays.
I loved my Grandma, and I shouldn't have been surprised considering we only see her once a year. I didn't hate wearing makeup, I was usually just too lazy to put it on.
Grandma did not skimp out that year. She got me a full (and possibly slightly expensive) bag for everything, despite not being able to fit it all, packed to the brim with eye shadow, blush, hair care, and a small container of mint lip gloss.
Because I didn't want it to just rot away in my room, I took a few minutes in the mornings before school to put on some eye shadow and lip gloss. Honestly, I thought it makes me feel more awake, just poking my eye with colors at 6:30 in the morning.
My friends noticed it, of course, because I only ever put on makeup for Halloween or special occasions.
On a day I had gray eye shadow on, my friend said to me "I like your makeup Jill! Wait are you wearing makeup or are you just tired?", which, although a fair statement, is not one I appreciate.
My life didn't rapidly change or anything, just sometimes received a comment from friends about not looking like a walking corpse.
But it was different in mid-February when a girl I had never spoken to came up to me.
"Mint?" She smiled as if she asked me something comprehensible.
I eloquently responded with, "Huh?", as one does.
She laughed and tapped her lips. "Mint lip gloss, right?"
"Yeah," I was shocked. By this time of day, all traces of it had usually vanished. "How'd you know?"
"Oh, you know." She waved it off. "Hey, you're in my math class, right? Did you understand Mr. Thompson's homework?"
Her name was Sally, and we started talking after that. She would find me at lunch, or whenever we had free time in math, and just start talking to me. It was a bit off-putting at first, but after three weeks I had gotten used to her presence.
The still cold March weather was getting to be one day, and I was shivering despite having on a thick sweater. Probably because they didn't bother heating the cafeteria.
"Hey, Jill!" Sally was suddenly next to me. The first few times she did that, it startled me, but I was expecting it.
"Hey, what's up?"
"Just really bored today." She sighed and laid her chin down on the table. "Do you want to come over today after school or something?"
I shrugged. I had nothing going on, and I had to admit I was curious about Sally's house. "As long as you have heating, I'm in."
She perked up. "Great! I can drive us there right after school if you're fine with that."
At 2:43, we were in her driveway. I remember the time so clearly because my mom texted me then if I needed anything from the store. I forgot to text her back.
Sally pulled out a key a opened the door, pushing me inside.
Her house was strange. Not like 'covered in blood and guts' strange, but it threw me off how fake everything looked. Like a house, you would see in a commercial for insurance.
"Just throw your bag anywhere, and make yourself comfortable! Do you want hot chocolate or tea?"
I sat down on the couch. It was stiff. "Hot chocolate."
She nodded and walked into the kitchen. Sally couldn't have been gone for more than seven minutes, but it felt like I sat there for hours. There was no noise from anywhere in the house, except for my own occasional breathing.
She walked back in with two mugs and handed me one before sitting next to me.
"I assumed you would be alright with whipped cream and sprinkles on it."
"Of course. I'll never say no to sweets." I laughed but felt weird having a tall sugar-filled cup while her mug looked so plain. I took a sip, and it wasn't as sweeter as I expected, tasting more bitter than anything.
"Do you want to work on homework or something? I'll help you with math if you help me with history."
Sally grinned and stood up. I had never seen her smile that wide. "Yeah," She set her mug on the coffee table. "Let's go up to my room."
I only had gotten halfway through my drink, but I couldn't say anything about it, because as soon as I had risen, I fell straight to the floor, shattering the mug.
"Oops." I could only hear her. My head couldn't move from the floor. "I was hoping you would set the mug down before the effects took place." Despite not having any recently, I swore that I tasted the strong after taste of almonds in my mouth.
Fingers grasped my chin and lifted up my throbbing head. Sally was blurry but clear as she kneeled in front of me, barely avoiding the spilled drink and shards.
She ran a finger over my lips and sighed. "Aw, I guess your mint lip gloss was rubbed off."