Sometimes I go to write a poem about my hair and it takes a few days.
Savanna, I’m sorry that sometimes I don’t let you hug me.
Your ability to absorb energy through touch
like some kind of as-seen-on-TV cellphone charger
is something you got from mom.
The circle in the sand I draw,
my lassoed lungs,
blaring loudly like crinkled parchment
Slick bottom dunking tank
It’s a broken typecast,
the Leonhardt echo.
I practice holding my hands, tracing
my ears, wrapping
arms around when I sleep.
but if anyone gets too close
to a shoulder, a tap to the knee, a nudge to the thigh
it sticks to my skin like cellophane isn’t supposed to stick to non-cellophane
I feel throughout my eyes held open.
if anyone gets too close
holds my eyes a little too long
talks to me like an
they must be shadows
trying to hover over mine
not for the evening run
but for the outline.
and their words and their eyes
and their expectant air
sinks in my lungs and all I want
is for them to move away
so I don’t have to dodge them at Ingles.
I’m running out of grocery store and laundromats.
All my history and I have developed the heart of a scientist
all my data points to my reaction reasonably conditioned
but the method
the method is cracked
I need a larger survey pool
that isn’t all the quiet boys with sticky fingers and high expectations
What am I talking about brave,
I couldn’t even jump into a pool until I was 19.
I whisper into my together hands
"But you did jump."
It takes you 15 minutes
of yes and no
fight or flight
pros and cons
now and wait
but you jump.
I heard that inspiration comes to those
and you DID tell me all about your grandson who lives in Rhode Island
but you still are very rude
and I don’t think I didn’t
notice that you have styled
your white, oily comb over
into four perfect lines
Please don’t touch me.
I like to pretend that no one recognizes me at home.
As if I have shed a skin on the way back down.
I don’t press my hair down with my hands
or blow smoke in my eyes.
I am myself full circle.
No one in the corners of my eyes
No one to be looked between.
Push you up higher,
wrap your hands in the ivy and
watch your biceps build.
Your eyes, fixed on me,
must look farther than across
the dinner table.
I will write your name
on trees. Not first nor last, Mom’s
reminder, “Have Faith.”
My dad was born a stout-hearted man.
Eyes lifted beyond the horizon,
centered north in the rough Atlantic.
Always fighting the good fight,
"The Endurer" was his name in the ring,
titles draped across his shoulders.
He can see the stars through his cupped hands,
and he can taste the storms that brew.
He uses his index fingers to intersect their sights.
But he pulls them along his forehead.
He feels the weighty storm in his lungs
and he carries my boat across his back
as he carries my sisters in each arm.
He lifts his eyes to the horizon still,
and draws the cardinal directions with his fingers.
My cartographer, my father.