i. GROWTH – an intro
God grew me in the sidewalk cracks of the suburbs.
He gave me broken petaled-toes
and dew drops for eyes,
and lined my body with thorns
for good measure.
“Your ideas are safe here,” He said,
but I was trapped. I don’t want to be the champion of this story.
I watched the world beat before me.
I felt most like a girl when I played roller hockey with my boy neighbors.
I would always fall and bleed
from my elbows and knees
and watch them play on
from the tarmac.
I was too afraid of broken skin to learn to skate,
(I didn’t learn to swim until grade school)
so when we picked teams,
I was always drafted last.
When I look into a mirror, years later,
I hope I see reflections of a wrinkled girl
with scabs healed over
and a hockey puck in her hand, whispering:
I am not here to be held underwater. I am here to rise from the ground.
Little memories strike me
like watching Ghost Adventures
with a boy who would become my first ex-something
after 4 years of best friendship.
We saw our first blood moon from the crumbling marble steps
of a poor neighborhood,
drinking in galaxies with our eyes and ignoring mosquitoes
that take rich, round bites from our skin.
When we lose each other, God will look at me.
I’ll look at the suburbs across the street,
through the violets sprouting from my sockets.
“I’d hope so.”
My best friend is a sponge and I am a luffa.
She absorbs everything.
I absorb most things.
She is ethereal and I am earthly
and I grew up knowing her
without having met her at all.
I looked in a mirror once and couldn’t find the reflection
of whom I was looking for,
until she appeared behind me
with a fig in her hands.
“Am I too old for this?”
I ask myself, as I cross the state line
of Pennsylvania into New York,
swatting at stubborn tears
trailing down my cheeks.
It will take some time
to believe that I no longer belong
in the sidewalk cracks,
or with God.
For now, I hold a figurine of my father
in my breast pocket,
where he hoists himself up onto my shoulders
to guide me until I can look at myself and say,
I have come home.