She said curled against me,
Her voice tip-toeing the edge of a cliff,
“I feel so small.”
But you are not small,
You are the entire universe.
Your body is the new bloom wrung from
The soil that was lain from the ashes of bursting stars,
You are not small,
Even if you think you are.
Sometimes I wish you were small,
So that it would be easier for my hands,
To scour over every inch of you
But I don’t mind if my body goes limp
I will never get tired of touching you.
I know your head is floating off your shoulders and that
Your heart is so heavy that you are sinking beneath the floorboards.
It is okay to feel blank,
It is okay to feel anything you need to feel,
And even though I am a poet, not a painter,
I will try so hard to turn
A blank you into something beautiful
(Just in case you didn’t know,
You are already something so beautiful.)
We didn’t get to choose who,
But you know what?
I don’t care about the technicals,
About the conventional,
And I know you don’t either.
I’m here for the sunshine, love
And oh god do you shine so bright.
But I am also here for the storms,
For the rain,
For every tear drop that streaks your cheek’s windowpane.
No matter how much
It hurts me to see you hurt,
I will take my hands,
My shaking hands,
Wipe every single one of them away.
"My heart’s not the strongest,
But it is all yours”
She says into the empty space of her room.
I want to make my way inside your chest,
Let your heart rest I will pump all your blood for you,
I will prop you up on my shoulders
I will be your human crutch,
I will walk you across the Atlantic until the saltwater fills my lungs
Or my own two legs give up
Loving you is not a matter of wading in the shallow end,
Headfirst I will dive right in.
This is not a question of how long I can float,
This is sink or swim.
When you are 13 years old,
the heat will be turned up too high
and the stars will not be in your favor.
You will hide behind a bookcase
with your family and everything left behind.
You will pour an ocean into a diary.
When they find you, you will be nothing
but a spark above a burning bush,
still, tell them
Despite everything, I really believe people are good at heart.
When you are 14,
a voice will call you to greatness.
When the doubters call you crazy, do not listen.
They don’t know the sound
of their own God’s whisper. Use your armor,
use your sword, use your two good hands.
Do not let their doubting
drown out the sound of your own heartbeat.
You are the Maid of Untamed Patriotism.
Born to lead armies into victory and unite a nation
like a broken heart.
When you are 15, you will be punished
for learning too proudly. A man
will climb onto your school bus and insist
your sisters name you enemy.
When you do not hide,
he will point his gun at your temple
and fire three times. Three years later,
in an ocean of words, with no apologies,
you will stand before the leaders of the world
and tell them your country is burning.
When you are 16 years old,
you will invent science fiction.
The story of a man named Frankenstein
and his creation. Soon after you will learn
that little girls with big ideas are more terrifying
than monsters, but don’t worry.
You will be remembered long after
they have put down their torches.
When you are 17 years old,
you will strike out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig
one right after the other.
Men will be afraid of the lightening
in your fingertips. A few days later
you will be fired from the major leagues
because “Girls are too delicate to play baseball”
You will turn 18 with a baby on your back
leading Lewis and Clark
across North America.
You will turn 18
and become queen of the Nile.
You will turn 18
and bring justice to journalism.
You are now 18, standing on the precipice,
trembling before your own greatness.
This is your call to leap.
There will always being those
who say you are too young and delicate
to make anything happen for yourself.
They don’t see the part of you that smolders.
Don’t let their doubting drown out the sound
of your own heartbeat.
You are the first drop of a hurricane.
Your bravery builds beyond you. You are needed
by all the little girls still living in secret,
writing oceans made of monsters and
throwing like lightening.
You don’t need to grow up to find greatness.
You are stronger than the world has ever believed you to be.
The world laid out before you to set on fire.
All you have to do
I keep the lights off. I do the dishes.
I call it a day and it doesn’t
answer me. I cry into my coffee cup.
I forget what my thumb is for
when it isn’t hovering over your
name in my phone.
I wait for you. I listen for you.
I pretend to be better than I am.
Less selfish, less desperate, more
I say your name until it doesn’t
sound like a word anymore. I tell
myself that this kind of hell is
important, but I don’t believe it.
Still, I say it. Still, I breathe easier.
I open myself up like a Matryoshka doll,
hoping to find you inside, but it’s just
me. Again and again, it’s
There is no version of this story where
I am not sick over you,
where my body is not taut with
the effort it takes to not be with you.
The truth is,
some pain just isn’t worth it.
Sometimes, the hurt gets old.
Sometimes, you get tired of
being the one who has to heal.
I want your Monday morning
sleep soaked eyes
dream drenched voice,
‘five more minutes please babe.’
I want your Tuesday afternoon
glasses off, laughter on
‘just hold me for a while
it’s been a hard day.’
I want your Wednesday evening
fingers through hair
teeth nibbling nails
neck craning, eye glazing
‘this paperwork never ends’
I want your Thursday night
drinks for two
muscles let loose
‘just me and you’
I want your finally Friday
stretch soul smile,
sun sipping light
from the glaciers in your eyes
fingers unfurl, hand extends
‘c’mon babe, lets go wild’
I want your weekend.
your movie marathon Saturday
reading by the fireplace
kissing in the blankets
want your Sunday morning
orange juice and pancakes
white sheets, tender skin
hair like the Fourth of July
‘let’s not get out of bed today.’
I want your ordinary
and your stress, rest, release
I want your bad day and that terrible night
I want you drunk in my arms
forgetting the place but never my name
I want your lazy and your lonely
and your fist full of fight
I want you everyday
in every way
for the rest of my life.
our kiss is a secret handshake, a password.
we love like spies, like bruised prize fighters,
like children building tree houses.
our love is serious business.
one look from you and my spine reincarnates as a kite string.
when i hesitate to hold your hand,
it is because our touch unlocks secrets
i’m not sure i want to know yet—
because to know is to be responsible for knowing.
there is no clean way to enter
the heavy machinery of the heart.
just jagged cutthroat questions.
just the glitter and blood production.
the truth is this:
my love for you is the only empire
i will ever build.
when it falls,
as all empires do,
my career in empire building will be over.
i will retreat to an island.
i will dabble in the vacation-hut industry.
i will skulk about the private libraries and public parks.
i will fold the clean clothes.
i will wash the dishes.
i will never again dream of having the whole world.