Meanwhile, in Minnesota…

Where your house is threatened by ice crawling up your lawn.

I am SO HAPPY I don’t live here.


The day I learned to forgive

It was summer, I was three, and I was in a raging fury.  Rays of gold streamed in through the screened-in porch windows and cast alternating dark and light patterns on the child-sized blue and white table, covered in crumpled paper, scattered crayons, and sticky spots of glue residue left behind by small fingers.  A dark-eyed brunette girl sat in the smaller of the chairs that matched the table, while a blue-eyed blonde sat in a miniature, banged-up orange porch chair.  The very loved porch chair was in such poor condition because the precocious three-year-old me (I’m the blondie) often bent various parts while utilizing the chair in every way possible except the way in which the designer envisioned it to be used.  I used that porch chair as a stepping stool, a hat, a tutu, a projectile, a pillow, and in place of various other objects that exist in real life but that I considered far too ordinary to use for their intended purpose.

My creativity often exhibited itself in curious ways such as this—I had a habit of doing the opposite of what was expected, at times to the chagrin of my mother.  If there was a path provided for us to walk on in the park, I made sure not to take it because it provided very little challenge and interest to my day.  I had walked on paths in parks before, and by that time (by the time I was three, that is) I found it highly overrated.  On the particular occasion in which I was sitting on a porch chair and my best friend in the whole world, Jamie (the brunette—I was two weeks older than her, just to be clear) who also happened to be my next-door-neighbor, was over for a playdate.  It was arts and crafts time, hence the room appearing as if a tornado full of glue, paper, and crayons blew through.  I had just created one of the most masterful pieces of art a three-year-old had ever wrought with her own hands.  One of my favorite arts and crafts activities involved tearing colorful pages out of National Geographic magazines and making collages.  These were special collages because I would tear the magazine pictures into a hundred tiny pieces, glue them back together again, then tear them into a thousand tinier pieces, glue them back together again, and so on.  As you could imagine, my artistic process was long and involved and very detailed.  The reason for my temper tantrum was that Jamie had committed the ultimate best-friend-for-life betrayal and scribbled in crayon all over my newly created masterpiece.  I ran, sobbing, to my mother and exclaimed “Why would Jamie do this to me?,” to which she responded, “Maybe Jamie didn’t know that your collage was important to you and that you wanted it to be your own.  Perhaps she just wanted to help you, or didn’t understand that what she was doing would hurt your feelings.  You should forgive her.”

This left me dumbfounded.  I had never even thought that Jamie was doing something without intentionally making me feel bad.  It hadn’t crossed my mind. Not an inkling.  Not even considered.  I simply knew she was trying to hurt me, and hadn’t had a doubt about that assumption until my mom suggested it.

I must’ve sat on that ugly orange carpet in the room adjacent to the porch and stared at the flamboyant 90’s wallpaper for at least 15 minutes (quite a long time for a three-year-old) just thinking about my newest epiphany.  I remember even now, quite clearly, that this was the first time I ever recognized that people think in different ways and can have different perspectives.  It was such an alien idea that I could hardly wrap my mind around it.  I started thinking about everything people had done that had made me angry or sad, and trying to figure out why they had done it and considering the possibility that maybe they weren’t trying to hurt my feelings.  For the first time in my life, I put myself in someone else’s shoes and exhibited empathy and forgiveness while understanding what they were and why they were important.

I don’t know what ended up happening to that collage.  I hope it is somewhere in Jamie’s house, or squirreled away by mother in my basement (she hates throwing away my art, even if it’s scribbles from second grade).  Jamie moved to California only two years after our playdate on the sunny porch, but I’ll always have that moment to remember her by, and to remind me each time someone hurts me that there is always another reason for someone else’s actions than malign intent, and that I must always give others the benefit of the doubt, my empathy, and my forgiveness.

Yell at the loneliness

the eerie in mystified pooled
a mist hangs over shadowed eyes
out of the corners of their eyes, I glimpse doppelgängers
fading into the shade, crowded with the lost

self-pity reeks of putrefied flesh,
hatching rusted snails with slimy roots muttering along carefully placed leaf circles
that crinkle and disintegrate when I look at them with the slightest disdain
but then I forget

I should cherish mediocrity
because it outcompetes nonexistence
nothing is actually 100% perfectly blue and symmetrical
hush now,
accept the violin with the broken string and the fat cat
with the toe missing

if you wander through the apple orchard
and the applies fly away
go find another orchard
yell at the loneliness and it will cease

Eating logic

Powerful stare from beneath intense eyebrows
Utter control
Striding with purpose
Her golden fingertips drip invincibility into the carpet

Her femininity permeates the air
A quick turn, a scent detected
His eyes narrow, his pupils dilate, his heart races
A conquest tasted before capture
Intimidation creeps, mixed with sweet, invigorating challenge
Her pride and her prejudice will both meet their demise

Always pushing away, standing alone, independent squared shoulders
Though they fling blades of scorn and spray with gouts of looking down their noses
After glimpsing her piercing eyes, the sexist cringe and look away

He is not one of them, she knows
But her thoughts repel instinct, twining through an overactive neural network
She meets his eyes, and they
Explode into a fiery burst of light without order
Logic is eaten; swept away in the flames

Hidden among the purines and pyrimidines
A primitive green instinctual repressed something
In reckless wild abandon rears its head and
Force the beholder to open, accept, submit

Blink back tears of freedom, realization, peace
In being taken, owned, directed
She was, essentially, released

Stealing time

I. 23 weeks
He was so tiny as you grasped him, gasping
Tears leaking from your eyes
The first wail was not that at all
But the chilling, desperate song of fleeting youth

The doctor’s tongue made vibrations in the air
But the sound just bounced off your eardrum
She voiced what you’d already heard
As soon as you held him in your arms

 And you refused it

II.  23 pairs of chromosomes
You grasped them and, whispering, promised never to let go
You stole sand from the hourglass
And hoped the universe wouldn’t notice

III.  2 years, 3 days
A child, singing, round and round
The sound, a lovely ringing peal
A composition which, simply by existing
Determines to trounce fate

Toes spin above the ground
A petal drifts around your child’s angelic face
A smile touches your lips
Then a frown

A crease betwixt the eyebrows fixes
Your eyes widen as you see the sand melt together, turning to liquid
The toes stop going round
He slides silently and gracefully into the summoning black waters
Smooth ripples caress his face and he disappears
As if he were never there at all

The petal touches the quietly polished surface
The singing stops; the silence resounds
Someone should stop the playground roundabout
                  but it goes round and