Question the Current

Question.

Beaten about and beset on all sides and wondering why.

Do I even remember jumping in the water?

Your choice.

You live with them.

I scream this to myself every day

I perpetually compare. Why can’t I be better. (I’m not)

Why can’t I be thinner? ( I love cake)

Why can’t I play guitar? (I don’t have enough time to practice)

Why aren’t I acting? (I don’t have enough time to act. And maybe I’m not that good.)

Why don’t I have my next book done already? ( I don’t have enough time to write)

Why don’t I have support? (I don’t have enough time for friends. And I’m an anxious wreck)

Why am I a single mom? (I’m too much and not enough and self-pitying and he left me for someone better)

Why am I unlovable? (Can anyone love a rose bush? A rose, yes, elegant. Silken. Beautiful. But not the bush. Try to hug a rose bush? You’ll end the night bleeding.)

See. I don’t just have questions. I have answers too.

Yes. Hyperbolic and exaggerated and defeatist answers. Answers that take away my agency and put blame somewhere else where it less painful. Bullshit answers.

But do I have choices?

In some sense yes. We all do.

Can we choose to murder the asshole neighbor? Sure. That choice means prison. In that scenario you can’t complain behind bars, asking why. You have the answer.

I guess I made my choices.

Would be so much easier if there was a god or a fate that called this down. Then it wouldn’t be my fault.

But it is my fault.

And I don’t know how to fix it.

Bloodied my knuckles against the wall I built

And then mourn the loss when I lose the fingers from the infected I dragged through the skin.

I’m living with choices.

Most days, I can.

Some day, just seeing some else’s choice is crushing. The luxury of going out for a beer with a friend seems so unreasonable and unreachable that I might as well be coveting drinking youth syrup from a gondola in Atlantis.

How to stop?

Let the current take you?

Fuck that. I’m not drowning.

Fight against it?

I guess that’s what’s left.

Grow

I see.

From my planting in the weeds,

Growing.

Before my sight,

Beyond my reach,

Behind my back.

Rows of pretty maids

Reaching and sucking in

And blooming.

I’m still entrenched

Roots held fast,

Gnarled,

Waiting,

Drying and dead

Petals in the dirt that I sacrificed.

Giving back

Ready to nourish

For the next cycle.

And around me,

I marvel

Stalks and stems

smiling for the sun,

Craned and warm

Impervious to

Pestilence and pain,

Daring the rain to stay away.

My storm already came.

I gave over my water so

That I could see vibrant color,

Not live within them

Or them in me.

The leaving

Unused puddle

Around my core,

Sucking, seeping

To the patent veins

Still open to expression.

My acceptance of

Growth is gone.

I’m parched and starving.

But I can still smell the water.

The flood didn’t take everything.

It’s there.

I don’t have to beg

The gods for rain.

They have given.

I look at the gift,

Offered while I decay,

Dis-entangle and

Disappear.

If I can stand the summer,

Pulls, stretch, reach,

The corner curl of

Any petal

Any jagger

Any persistent,

Stubborn,

Un-killable cell

That wants to

Unfurl from the mud

After winter,

If I can be selfish enough

To take a drop for me–

I can grow.

Stay warm in the light.

Offer breath in exchange

For toxicity.

Be beautiful,

Not for what I do,

Or contribute over

Other cuttings,

But simply because

I am beautiful.

For Katherine

We send our girls across the water.  They deserve more. Change is coming.  New is coming. A new moon. A new season. A new day. A new life. It’s there. Beneath our cold, our death and our forgotten. A new chance. 

 

For Katherine

Fourteen.
Across the water
to marry a king.

Fourteen.
Across the water
to lie down for a man
and another man
and another
as they are made.

Bought for a crown,
bought for a pound
of flesh.

Sold to the first son
and then consigned
to the second.

Returned to her
room
to wait
and when the sun comes up
banished.

One job.
Make a prince

The only job.
Make him happy

Strange girl
a hood over
her eyes,
covers her hair
without words
she can hear
without words
she can say
no other way.

Gagged.

Cloth.
Rigid flesh.

Emptying her bowels
her sickness
her sin
in a pot
painted with
delicate lavender violets
in the corner of the room.

In the corner
of the rectangle.

That is her queen’s chamber.
That is her prison.

The water under her
becomes the bed under her
becomes the new green
on the grass
catching what is left
to fall.

The next day,
the next sun.
Always new.

In her old world,
she knew St. Brigid.
Imbolc.
Witches in a dream.
The turn of the dial,
the turn of the moon
and clover sprouts
again.

Then she remembered,                                                                                         in her new world.
In another place,
with another name,
as another girl
that she didn’t know                                                                                           the seasons anymore.

Are we still buying and selling
each other?

A girl
for dowry
for a boy playing soldier?

A girl for
a coin
for her virginity?

When neither ever
owned it herself,
couldn’t broker the sale,
and couldn’t own the
profits if she did.

Changing her name,
sometimes with a K,
others a C,
depending on whose
tongue is curling
around the sounds.

Changing her body,
changing her nightmares
changing her life
that was never
her.

Because she was
her.
Only her.
Never her.
These girls on the water,
drifting,
wanted so much
and not cared for
at all.

Hundreds of years
and we are still
sending our girls
to drown.

Enough have sunk.

They will walk
as their own,
with their own,
on their own
land.

Feet on the sand,
going home.

Make their path.
They’ll travel.

Drain their seas.

They won’t merely
trod on the dirt.

They will fly.