A POEM A DAY

I'm just happy to be here.

Tag: 18/30

18/30: A POEM FOR LIZ

On the kitchen counter, I remember your hands
rolling dough for dumplings, the egg disappearing
into flour, your knuckles rolling yolk, perfect trick.
The chicken simmering in the broth next to you.
The dough, though unfinished, forms in your hands.
A single mother making dinner for her boys, and me.
Your boys, my friends, other brothers, create mischief
in the distance, shaking the plates on your walls.
Then, there is me, next to you in the kitchen, listening.
The smell of love has a noise, and you are a symphony.
It is the weekend, where boys like me escape into trees,
run down dark streets, tease the moon, spoon ice cream
until a river has formed down my wrist, licking my skin.
How wild the nights were when all I had to do was exist.
Sleep, always, a plot twist, as we tried our hardest to remove
any evidence that shows we broke our promises to you.
We spent summer afternoons diving into pools with
sandwiches in our backpacks, a snack to keep us safe.
We started camp fires and crawled rocks to jump off cliffs,
your sons, brave, me, afraid, wanting to disprove the truth
that Mexicans were natural fishes in water, but at the same time,
needing to prove I too could jump into the deep blue,
angling my body, pointing my toes, trying my best to perform
The Pencil Dive, hoping the end of me would touch the bottom
of the lake, this untouchable place I could make my own
If I just knew how to hold my breath right. Returning
was a gift I never knew how to make, only unwrap, which
is why I roam below til’ my breath billows bubbles,
sending signals above the surface like letters back home.
How you taught me to pursue without losing myself.
I did not know how to raise the boy in me like bread.
But I still remember sitting down to eat on Sunday,
my mother on her way, and me, eating Chicken and Dumplings
you made from scratch, the flour still in full bloom around
the room. I follow the steam, blow over the broth, watch my breath
turn into a lesson, a seed growing into a tree, a scared boy
growing into a man, that man, growing into me.

18/30: COMO SIEMPRE

When
did I stop
paying attention to gravity

Who
untethered
my heart

Did anyone see
the sugar
in my chest melt

Early this morning
when a parade of little humans
read poems in the post-storm air

Who noticed
my body collapse, releasing joy like
a small door

Does anyone
know if love
ever has an accurate weather report

is it the opposite of humidity?

is it this scene in front of me?

18/30

HIGH & DRY

All the cars     go somewhere     this makes you think
you should too    makes you wanna gamble your morning
breath     away      on   your 8 AM playlist    a shuffle so sad pours
replaces the sugar in your coffee with       Radiohead
and now this suffering refuses to skip   I am sobbing songs out to an audience
invisible from the outside in but oh        I don’t just sing    for nobody   now
Ya see?     I remove the stirrer now a tongue and the thickness of it
curdled the cream    degreased the deadbolt  that keeps the best thing
 I ever had           whole  and no one knows
or remembers how to gather gone glory    even after you showed them.      It’s ok, though.          
‘Cause this morning       I can sing     about wishing to make love
without my inside falling to pieces      again.

Anyway       you are not in your car yet and you think still
to step out      in such an environment     will make you        imposter      
or maybe just impossible  or maybe      opening the door
will affirm           what is waiting         and what is waiting  is what is   not yet
yours but that     will always be       waiting    so
what’s the rush? Maybe now      you are the open door
Welcome!   you think   to the world  whose constant availability
vindicates   the time it takes for you to          open so true      maybe
none of this is what you thought would happen by noon but
It is Friday   nonetheless       you have now drank two cups of coffee
finishing neither but your breath says otherwise and now you are awake
now you are in your car              going somewhere        but you still haven’t left.