Ever since my mother died, and later, my father, I have had a hard time looking at family photos. It hurts too much. It hurts to remember what was lost, but I think the truth is, it hurts more to remember I was loved. Because in my family, love was a patchwork of mental illness, violence, and abuse. Love felt unsafe, love meant to harm.Read More
A memory: I am lying on the couch in the basement of my old childhood home. All the lights are off, except the television is on, and the room is alive with flickering and jumping shadows. There is a pit in my stomach, and the pockets below my eyes are filled with tears. But for all the hours I’d been lying there, I wouldn’t allow myself to shed them. The physical expression of my worry and sadness felt like an indulgence I couldn't afford.Read More
And then something shifts.
All yesterday I kept saying to myself and, out loud or in text, to anyone who would listen: I just don't know what happened to me. These words were said about my appearance and my overall miserable feeling; my loneliness, my ache. I do and do not know how much I've contributed to this atmosphere of myself.
I sat down and drew a picture of a gun.
After reading the news about the 250th shooting in America since January 1st, what was once quiet in me came alive. Which is, in plain terms, the point of art.
I am running naked down the hall. I am so small, the door knob to the linen closet before me is above my head. I am headed to it, the towels are there, my child feet leave footprints on the wooden floor, droplets fall from my body and leave a trail of splatters, surrounding the mark of toes and heel of a child, naked, dripping, gleeful, emerging from the tub. Now to fetch the forgotten towel, forgotten yet again! Did I forget it in order to take once again this euphoric walk of no shame? My hairless, porcelain child body, my head of wet, wavy, dark brown hair, my eyes on the prize, the linen closet!Read More
That time I slept with G last summer, it wasn’t like I’d imagined.
We had talked about it, G and me, what it would be like to see each other again after so long. “We would probably fall into each other’s arms.” He said, more than once. I grasped at those words and stapled them to my heart.
Today, I went for my six month check up with my family practitioner. It seems that since I hit a mild stone of
sixty, the various doctors appointment have become frequent. There's the Ortho doctor for the pain in my right knee. The dentist so I can keep my teeth and not have to get those fake
dentures that jump out at people when
when you're talking.
Between you and me.
There is a space of flesh just beneath my navel, to the right, and above my hip bone that holds a constellation of freckles, or beauty marks as my mother used to call them. It looks like Orion’s Belt.
Once, when I was a little girl, around eight-year’s old, or maybe it was ten, someone told me to go count them, all the freckles, all the beauty marks. Because, they said, if I had more than a hundred, I was beautiful.
The man who was once a boy that raped the once girl that was me has a daughter.
I know this because Facebook told me in the language of a single frame.
As it happened, his face appeared on my timeline as one of Facebook’s helpful suggestions of people I might know, people I might want to friend. After a moment of hesitation, I clicked on his picture. Then, I read his name to myself, scanning his face, his eyes, that smile, all the same. I heard his voice in my ear threaten: If you tell anyone, I’ll kill you--as if it were yesterday and not twenty years ago. The non-linearity of our lives and our memories, and how they move and crash upon one another is beautiful and terrifying and fantastic and strange.
His birth was unsettling in a primal way.
The archetypes came unmoored,
tectonic plate shifts.
I was floating, untethered.
At once a maiden