April 27, 2008

May is here on Thursday.
i can’t believe that this year is almost over;
as of tomorrow afternoon,
it will only be three weeks until i’m finished
1/4 of the way there.
it’s raining, and the rain keeps
beading on the branches of the tree
outside my window
i can hear cars hissing, sounds like
January on the streets of my hometown.
i have something of a headache, but that happens
these days and there’s quite a lot to do
tonight but you know
i have a beautiful life.

my father called me on my birthday
and said very nonchalantly,
“your mother and i wanted to tell you
that whatever loans you can’t sign yourself,
we’ll cosign for you.”
which is his way of saying
“i love you, and i want you to be happy”
i remember when i was young, and
his hands were so much bigger than mine.
long, round fingers and the backs of his hands
dusted with copper freckles and bleached hair
and how he used to crack his knuckles,
going off like gunshots.
mornings when i would walk up that
long staircase to the front bedroom, painted yellow
with weekend sunshine
climbing into bed between my parents
and fitting into the hollow of his arm.

i’m too old now to snuggle with my parents in the morning.
is that what it means to be an adult?
to be the snuggler instead of the snugglee.
instead of seeking comfort and advice in the arms of my father,
i find myself in the arms of my lover instead.
but my father shows me that he loves me in other ways,
like accepting what i want for my life
and believing in me.

i look in the mirror some mornings and
no, i don’t feel old.
i know i’m only 19, my life’s just beginning.
but still,
i’m not a girl anymore.
i’m a woman – i sign my own tax forms,
i put on make up in the mornings.
i cook my own meals and make my own bed,
i make myself pots of coffee and do laundry and dishes.
i can vote for the candidate of my choice.
i know what my heart breaking feels like,
what my heart healing feels like,
what my heart loving feels like.
what it’s like to plan for the future with another person.
i dream of a window box
and a big bed with cotton sheets
with squirmy, chubby children waking me up too early
and snuggling into the hollow of my arm
and i dream of reaching over with my free hand to find his
and seeing his blue blue eyes early in the morning
i dream of so much beauty that my heart hurts with joy.

in three days i’ll be in St. Louis again.
it’s a long while before all of my dreams can come true,
but some of them are already here.

i love being alive.


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