now there is a new kitchen

the straps of my tanktop don’t stay up for long.
there is too much pointing to do.
my shoulders are in constant use
(but not because you are here,
telling stories loudly;
reaching out for emphasis).

i save up my moments for emails,
but it doesn’t come through the same
when there are no interruptions.
the light makes all the edges blurry anyway.

i don’t want to out-grow this.
i want the mud on my boots to last forever,
even if i feel out-of-place sometimes.

i haven’t figured out yet if i should measure time
in teaspoons or teapots.
either way, i’ll spill it all over the floor,
and memories will get mopped up like milk.

eventually, new sandpaper will smooth me out,
and all my corners will fit nicely.
someone else will sit across the table.
when i leave, i won’t push the chair back in.

recycled cardboard

i wonder sometimes,
if i hold a sign up reading “home,”
scrawled on the torn off side of
the box your brother’s speakers came in,
while standing on someone else’s roadside–
boots unlaced,
hair undone,
insides untied–
where i’ll end up these days?

it’s not my intention anymore,
to figure out where hitchhikers will take me.
just to find home somewhere other than your kitchen table,
or the extra bicycle your family has for when guests visit,
but that usually meant me.
until it didn’t.

i have nightmares sometimes,
that i won’t recognize anywhere.
someone’s aunt will ask,
“sugar, what have you been up to these days?”
and i will pull my sweatshirt zipper up and down,
hoping that the length of my hair won’t give anything away.
you know,
just
here
and there,
this and
that,
i guess.

how to leave

1.
do not start by estimating damages,
contemplating insurance,
wrapping your edges in old newspaper.
there will be enough time
to put furniture polish on your new scratches later.
the moving company promises nothing will break beyond repair.

2.
hold your breath,
and fold up your sweaters.
take off your shoes,
and kiss a boy who won’t wait.
who will unbraid the promises in your hair,
and hold your hand until one of you goes.

3.
melt ice cubes on your skin to remind yourself
that once you were the only thing around above freezing.

4.
open your arms
as easily as you opened your passport
when the agent at border control
asked why you were here
at 7 a.m., after thousands of miles,
you adjusted the hem of your last clean shirt
and told the truth:
it was time to pick pomegranates again.

postage stamp

when did i become a postage stamp?
when did i become one inch tall and marked by home,
so no matter how far i go, everyone will always know these legs are far more used to wading through snow than waiting on subway platforms.
when did i leave my neatly organized page of 35 other stamps, all of us uniform in the conviction that One Day We Will Go Somewhere?
here’s the thing about leaving:
you find out exactly where your edges are,
but first you have to peel yourself away,
and it’s too much, sometimes, to figure out everything that you’re not.

break up season

i am your coat cast aside.
bare you arms to the sun, darling.
can you feel gravel through
the soles of your boots?
this is what it feels like
to lose me.
years ago, we stood on silty riverbanks.
and i leaned close enough
to read the ink on your arms.
they felt like bathroom stall promises.
they always made me curious
in ways i want/don’t want to explore.
“ships don’t sail through frozen seas,”
you tell me, when i confess:
imleavingimleavingimleaving.
it’s april, and dead grass and i
are uncovering our souls,
and you have all the time and sunshine
in the world.