I Never Knew

“Like air” he said as he raised his hand in a graceful surrender to the breeze sweeping through the tiny hill we stood on.

“You want to be like air?” I asked as I watch his hair fly in disarray. He hadn’t cut it since September, and now it was a mess of brown curls sweeping across his face.

“Yes, then I’d be essential to you.”

I laughed and stared into the horizon he had been staring at since we started this absurd conversation.

“You already are. You always have been.”

I feel his eyes on me. I keep staring into the horizon, wiping my mouth with my hand and feeling the growing beard I was too lazy to shave this morning. I look down and watch our shadows meet as the space between us fill with the words we kept inside.

“I never knew.”

“Now you do.”

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Unboxed

 

When my mother gave birth to me

They swaddled me with a marker

That told the world my anatomy

Providing me a name that fit

With a skin they though they

Understood

 

It fit in the sterile world

Like predictable gloves

Clinging, possessing but never

Comfortable enough for everyday

Wear. I tugged sleeves and hems

And scratched my head and its

Growing hair, screaming

Discomfort everywhere

 

In an act deemed rebellious

shed this skin, superficially ingrained

To my biology–that physiological

Truth clinging between my legs

Wrapping myself with a marker

That told the world of my

ambiguity

 

 

With the undeniable heart

that wavers not in pinks or blues

But in the mixture of hues that spread

Through a million different tones—

Short hair, squared out clothes

I move back and forth, like water

Fluid in its motion.

 

Letting skin, be skin

Bones be bones

None of which shape the person

That sits within its soul

Never molding, ever moving

And claiming what is true and

Of my own.

 

Original drafted in April 2016, finalized in Sept 2016.

Exactly

She told me she falls in love easily, it could take a short glance, a brief conversation or a meal shared. She tells me this in between drags of her slim cigarette. The words ‘shared’ hang between us.

Leaning back, crossing her legs, and after two drags from her Virginia Slim, she steals a glance–catching my eyes, asking for me to look, as if there was something between us. When all there was, was smoke shrouding her.

Like a heavy sigh escaping her nicotine lips she says: “It’s the case with you.”

I look at her mouth as it forms those words only to hear them a beat after. I watch her go through her purse in search of another stick. Catching her wrist, letting my eyes focus on hers, letting my thoughts run free and words slip through my parched mouth.

“I’m a girl.”

And she lets her head fall forward, hair covering her face, exhaling softly she whispers,

“I know.”

In that moment, I leaned my head back, let go of her wrist and stared into the starless sky.

“Amazing.” I said.

She found her cigarette it seemed, as I witness a cloud of smoke hovering above my face. I reach out with my hand touching it. I hear her say, “It really is.”

Cutting through the silent cold air, I let my words fill the space, “I am not like you. I don’t fall easy.”

“I know.”

I let the words guide me back to her face. Searching her beneath the evening sky, I catch the moonlight’s reflection on her wet cheeks.I make no move to comfort her. I stare at her tear-stained face, her trembling fingers wrapped in smoke, and continued speaking.

“It takes me at least a year and two months to fall in love, and we’ve known each other for only, what?”

I let the words float into the evening sky, leaving her to complete the statement, “…one year and two months.”

Stillness.

I draw close, entering her cloud of smoke, held her gaze with mine and smiled.

“Exactly”

“But, I’m a girl?” She says.

“I know.”

original written on 13 Sept 2016