seeing the edge of a shape

A calm I first knew 
in the warm sting
of Miami beaches
in the swell of
a wave was

enough to hold
my attention,
thankfully,
a relentless
press.

Could I be free
from chains I was
born in like my
mother and hers
before

to allow them
to break away
even as they
bruise
and clank.

Because this place
can make a person
unable
to feel or see
what is right
in front of them
when the image
blurred

by sad memory
or old pain
seems as real
as it gets-
so loud,
demanding
we remember
everything
to survive

and we
try to carry with
love, without
being angry
and with all
the fragility
still, so

we will not become
the darkness,
we might become
the very thing
that keeps balance.

Some say
this world is soft to
lessen the blow,
and I feel the
partiality of it
limiting-

I cannot
in hand hold
this beautiful place
the complicated petals
layer upon layer
like a chrysanthemum
without holding
the dark, as it is
between each
shining edge
a defined line
showing

this petal and that petal.

And instead of running
from everything
known
like I did at first
like happiness
was a thing
ran into, suddenly
behind a door probably
someone else opened
waiting to be found,

one day, I began to see
in places that
cannot be touched
by perspective
too much like
on a snowy, narrow
pass in the Cascades
where my heart
could still
its panic:
in that moment
a rush of wind
is beautiful
because I live-

I knew to go
looking after
the waves.

And the vast words
held too long
unsure of how
to say them
having not defined
what was indefinable
could split ice
and rock
beneath the places
I kept running

and I would simply
slide
for awhile.

It took some years
to become still enough
that my own shaking
could not unground
my thoughts/

and longer
for the hold
to take place
that is space kept
for knowing things
as they are
as much
as is possible
in any moment
without needing it
and with all
the uncertainty

where I could look
at what had happened,
these chaotic moments
and grief
that could crush
who I believed
myself to be,
to look back instead
with love for the sake
of love and gratitude

that I was myself
all along, especially
in the rainforest
walking, or with hands
digging into the ground
another living thing
having not much choice
in things, like lavender
with its sweetness
for no reason

to give it water
when it would not rain,
part of the learning.

Can you see
where the heart
will survive
by it’s aching,

running to be free
knowing what is
and isn’t worth
staying for,
is as basic as
need of air
if in a place
a person feels
their own thoughts
cannot be trusted

when it is mostly
the thoughts of others
like a sidewalk, broken
but you try to run
and trip.

But finally
to hold still
in the calm of
knowing the dark
as it is, dependent
upon that which grows
and thrives/ maybe
a glimpse
on a mountain pass
quiet enough defines
the edge
of your self

when it is difficult to see,
you have held it.

a cautionary tale – Zelda to F. Scott Fitzgerald from the hospital

Dear Scott, 

Remember how I told you,
“I am really only myself
when I’m somebody else whom I have endowed
with these wonderful qualities from my imagination?”

I’ve been thinking, all those pieces of me
are like pecans in a loaf of bread
baking in the oven and as it bakes,
those pecans get further

divided by space
and fluffy dough stuff/
think that’s why space
with all its soundless,
cold in-between
was something
I didn’t care for at first

but now I look up
and see myself
in the reach between stars
in the places of nothing:
a soundless place
I can speak and
hear it.

I am not silent in a clothes basket,
4 years old and thinking I am hidden-
no, I am un-shelving continents
with my dancing
with my love
having everything to say
and nothing worth saying,
according to myself.

When I went insane, love
I was caught up
being every version of me,
a puppeteer holding the strings
poised but unmoving
uncertain in where
this one goes or
that one came from/

‘they’ see
an effervescent, socialite
dancing on tables, and
I believe I’m showing daddy
I don’t need hard work
to build character,
that my beauty is enough
but, truth is
I was working hard,

I could live off the wistful smiles
on boys faces and be plump
as a jelly bean
stuck to their cheek,
that sweet aching
they don’t really like
but take all the same.

I was many versions of myself
scattered around a sun
and I could feel a warmth
but it was skin deep
and these parts of me searched

one tip-toeing on the event horizon
with a spoon in her mouth
flask of vodka on her hip
and another draped along Europa’s
smooth surface orbiting Jupiter,
her tidally locked, lover

(they say Europa spins faster than its orbit,
because the stuff inside is unbalanced, Scott).

Remember when I jumped in the fountain
in my red swimsuit? The space between stars.
Remember how our feet burned on white sands
bright as whiskey fire when we lived
at the end of everything

and the beginning of anything?
That burning was close as we could get
to finding the sun I speak of.

I was most beautiful
picking all the things I love
about people all the things
I love about living: laughter, dancing,
drinking- all the things that please me

scant almost too much
the way men turn me
like hands turn the pages
of a book

a blank page
opened in the night
and wanting to be
filled, or to know
finally, what do you find
between the stars
and the sun?
and was it enough.

On that beach we lived for awhile
where I should have felt some peace,
my hunger just became greater/

all those versions of me I created
and not one sun upon which to orbit
like the pecans in that loaf,
I am lost now

foot stuck in an air pocket
in that fluffy stuff and
100,000 versions
scattered across the universe-
the paths are all broken

or were they just
never charted.

Before you sent me away
sometimes I would think of baby birds
when hungry, but I wouldn’t know
I was hungry or
I’d think of a zipper over the mouth
of little girls and all the stories
that could be told

watching our daughter reading
under the oak tree
and didn’t know
there was a sadness,

I just kept dancing
hours upon hours
so I could be as
worthy as you were
to be alive.

And, when I said to you,
‘People look like ants in a bottle’
I was just afraid I was the same as them,
these people that looked like strangers
walking in circles and
that I was a stranger, too

all of us like ants
marching in straight lines,
protecting the queen, carrying
bits of leaf back to our anthills, so

I needed to love you first
and live incidentally
and that’s really
the story,

don’t you think?

Now, all these grown men
try to fix what’s gone wrong
with shots that make me shake
with violence,
and my mind is hoarfrost clinging
to bare branches,

my self, a ghostly butterfly
too insubstantial
to rest on the flowers/

I wish
I’d stayed with the girl
in the clothes basket. She
liked to talk about happy elves
in a make-believe place
everyone told her she needed
to leave behind, but she

is real, can follow the path
from her smile to
the stories creating
who she will be
when she is stronger
if she trusts
she is strong

and not a woman
who needs you.

I am the empty cup
with no handle,
the handle is somewhere?
Maybe
it was your hand on my stomach
as you slept maybe
I am a little girl you told
could only bloom when
you were sleeping
so you could be

F. Scott Fitzgerald
without inconvenience.

No one could have survived us, Scott,
but everyone really did love me,
didn’t they? All of my
stars and the space
between them,
if I could choose again
to chart the paths
with someone by my side:

you, my family, this world
or even my own heart
if I would stop and
feel this hunger.


many worlds

All the reasons the heart couldn’t form,

a humble stem/kitsch in your mother’s attic:
there’s a hundred hours left

still,and the sun won’t really set
just sway into someone
                  a world away, 

looks like you, looks like I,
holds a star like space holds/

limitless.

Even how love, was the baby frog I kept
in my pencil case to bring 
along to school,

‘little buddy,’ because the softness
of empathy is there before words
get in the way

but only realized when we talk about it.

It’s likely not many notice
the beauty of someone young
holding their space fully/

or how         outside of god
we hold the words of many gods
we have loved in our memory:

I still will sing
at the end of the world
walk into storms the same way

a ghost can only be ghostly.

Eat the cake! I really think it is fine
and to love peculiar things
like tiny frogs and funny-nosed sloths:
 
because love informs when chaos
gentle at the gate is hot
and all-too-ready.