Aspire to the Zenith: A Poem

Little things recall us to earth…

– Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre


It’s 4:30 but the sun
is setting. Molly is turning back the clocks,

her sighs chiding me, her delicate fingers warping
the plastic time we bought at Ikea.

I’m in the kitchen with my elbows wilted
across the counter, listening to the radio

when the news comes in: a kid, his body sketched
in 2B pencil beneath a too-small shirt

rode out onto the expressway today
on a secondhand bike.

“It was red,” the anchor said,
referring to the mangled mess of metal,

the swinging pedal parts. Some of his sneaker
was still 

“Darling,” Molly calls
from the living room, “Won’t you give me

a hand? This is no small task, you know.”
I tell her that it just isn’t

right. At 3:30, our afternoon
was barely old enough to shave

and now obstinate stars are visible in the East.
“The stars are always there,” she returns. “Maybe

you can’t always see them,
but they’re always there.”

When I go out later in the evening (Molly
forgot to buy milk) the headlamps

are stubborn in my vision.
It’s 6:30 but the lights, in a bristling battalion,

combat long-settled dark, looking like a constellation
about to burst.

But no, it’s 5:30. I haven’t reset
my clock. Tonight, I’ll ask Molly to help with that.

Right now, someone is riding a loping-tired bike
by the curb. I think of the boy

from the news. Maybe this cyclist is out to buy milk,
too. But I’m lying to myself. The outline of a cloud

sighs over the suburb, withering whiteness
collapsing on an ill-formed blue ghost.

I decide I’ll pick up flowers, whatever
is on sale—pink, yellow, white,

artificial petals of dyed daises or lilies. Anything
will do. The gas pedal glides as it sinks.


An Open Letter to My Hair II: The Long and Short of It

About four years ago, I wrote a post entitled “An Open Letter to My Hair.”

And, well, things have changed for me since then.

After I was introduced to feminism, I started to learn more about myself and my relationship with femininity. I came to realize that long hair was not really helping me feel feminine, even though it is the traditional prescription for women and girls. Its frizzy, tickly nature weighed me down until I felt more like an ogre than a girl. And although Princess Fiona is a lovely lady, the swamp life wasn’t really my speed.

I was done with long hair. For about a month, I would ponytail it, then tuck it into a knit hat with the tips sticking out to appear like bangs. My face seemed rounder and younger, but I still preferred the short hair look. So, finally, I got it lopped off.

casually anonymous picture of my pixie cut

casually anonymous picture of my pixie cut

Best decision ever.

Now that my abbreviated waves rule over the lands, I’m happier and more confident with how I look and who I am.

The responses to my haircut were overwhelmingly positive, with only a few people thinking it okay to suggest that I should grow it back out (Hint 1: it’s not okay. Hint 2: I won’t). Only a few times have I been mistaken for a guy–– which is great, because I’ve never felt more female.

Yes, my icon has been a lie for some time nowscreen-shot-2016-11-12-at-11-09-25-am. I’ll change it––as soon as I find an avatar generator that allows the user to put short hair on a woman. Until then, I’ll continue living a lie online, while being my truest self in person.

I might not look the way a woman is supposed to, but that doesn’t matter. Because I feel like a woman is supposed to.

CIao for now,


Saturday, 10 a.m.: A Poem


the mentioned view

This morning is mine.
My glasses are folded in my purse, asleep
in their case, and to my nude eye, the distance is blurry––
the nearby girl tucking her hair
into a braid, the scant fluttering yellow
I suppose is November wind. And here I am,
at the library, in a chair by the wall,
between windows, dodging the downpour
of white light. The sun
is a cup of coffee, turned over, spilling heat upon the earth.
But Hephaestus has forged this wall as a shield
against Apollo.

By the time noon makes its perch at the zenith,
my family will be here. They’ve made a seven-hour trip to visit me.
When they arrive,
my time will belong to them.
I will put my glasses on
to see the changes in my sister’s face.
I’m certain there will be some new, shining
composition––altered eighth-notes on her skin
where she smiles, where she
cries. Maybe my brother
is taller again, defying
my commands. I am afraid
of how white my mother’s hair will seem.

I capture this hour like a lightning bug in my hand.
Its antennae tickle my palm. I seal my fingers
tightly, nails hard
in flesh. Something urges the hour outwards––worries
like a porch light, a center of gravity into which
it might plunge. But I will not permit it.
Although it writhes, it is safe.
Although I pant, I breathe.

An Apology Letter for My Body: A Poem


My home has little pink curtains in her windows.
She has slim wood panels
along her sides.
Her lawn
is sprawling green. I pull weeds
from her garden. I have a can of off-white paint
which I use for her upkeep.
You should see her second floor.
Everything upstairs is lustrous chestnut.
There is a piece of stained glass,
blushing magnolia, and the sunshine
strikes it brilliantly at dawn.

I do what I can
to take care of the cobwebs the attic.
A million spiders must be weaving
some scheme. Cardboard boxes
populate the place.
I am afraid to unpack them.

I did not build my home.
I have merely been given the task of her maintenance.
In return, she keeps me warm
and offers me soft refuge
when days are long.

For me, she does the best
she knows to do. But not every crack in her ceiling
came about without design.
I keep shovels in a shed out back.
Its door weeps aloud when you open it.
I can swing a shovel hard
at drywall. I can feel plaster skin
give in.
I can blast past her defenses; sometimes when my head spins,
I punish the home for the flaws of the tenant.
Then I go back to the garden.
My paint is the wrong color
to make repairs.