Day 7 – Bootstraps

Privilege teaches grown men to believe
that life is fundamentally fair-
that smooth winds are earned by skilled sailing,
and storms the result of poor command at the mast.

But nature is wild and arbitrary-
some good men come to violent ends-
we accept this much.
Yet somehow we still refuse to believe
that good fortune is random, too.

I have heard enough of bootstraps,
so easy to pull with hard work and
a little pixie dust-

I have never heard any man admit
that his bootstraps were broken
and he had a little help.

Day 6 – Christine Collins

What else could a good woman be expected to do
when presented a child in need?
The LAPD smiled as the press took photos,
a happy reunion indeed.
But you knew he was not your son.

They had other important matters to attend,
gaslighting worried mothers just a part of the trade.
1928 was not kind to good women
and they made you play your part in that strange charade.
But you knew he was not your son.

How many nights did you feed and bathe that child,
try to see what they insisted, tucking in a little squatter?
The LAPD wrapped it up and closed your case
while your real son was being slaughtered.
But you never stopped looking for him.

You had the audacity to keep asking questions
and for that they declared you disruptive, insane.
But those who believed you tore open the cause
so your fight for your child would not be in vain.
But in 36 years you never found your son.

Mrs. Collins, I hope you’ve found him now,
your example set in history.
Though I hope to never know what you went through,
every child deserves a fighting mother like you.

Day 5 – In Egypt

In Egypt, you’ll remember, we once spent 11 hours
on a quest to rid ourselves of evil jewelry
In Tokyo we exited the bus at the wrong stop
and soldiered on to find our treasure on a freezing, foreign map
In Cuba we searched far to look for bona fide cigars,
In Key West we found all 57 of Mr. Hemingway’s cats

Much musing I could do about the things we have pursued, and yet
the cache is not the thing I have prized

In Egypt, I remember, we once had only 10 minutes
and you stood in line for popcorn so that I could use the loo
In Tokyo we judged we should not get back on the bus
and you wrapped me in your scarf while you analyzed the map
In Cuba I dozed in the heat while you procured a fan,
In Key West you bought me a bookmark while I scouted that last cat

Such reliving I could do of all the journeys we’ve been through, and yet
the things I treasure best when I lay down my head to rest
are memories of your unfailing care

Day 4 – Beautiful Things

I think the moon accepts now
he can’t catch me in the daytime
but he watches through my window
just the same

I see him pouting when I do the trash at night
he wants to know why I don’t
play scared anymore

I tell him what he wants to hear
I say it straight into his face
he won’t believe me, though
it’s new, but not to him:

“Beautiful things should not be feared”
I learned to say it loud and fierce
that took his fun away
but I don’t mind, I know

he can’t go anywhere

Day 3 – I Never Said Anything

I never said anything, but
she told me in February that if
she had a heart attack
to blame it on you

I never said anything, but
when she had a stroke in April, I knew
you finally wore her down

I couldn’t say anything when
you were the first to speak at her funeral,
praising her strong work ethic,
the one you’d taken advantage of
until she could no longer serve

I could not speak –¬†
what could I say,
who would I tell?
I could not move.
I could not look into your eyes again.

In my dreams I see her with the angels
and I see Karma standing watch over you
but it’s me who burns every day
with those things I couldn’t say.

Day 2 – 300 kCals

300 kCals is what the website said
when finally we reached the end of this
Saturday morning war

Your father knows I won’t agree
You didn’t get that look from me
Why must we tangle over
this notion again?

You know we love you
You love food
We fuss about you
Still it’s food
that gets the heart of you
I sometimes think
You get the best of us

We only want the best for you
there’s only so much we can do
no matter what we try
I think you’ll always be
a chunky kitty

Day 1 – Timidly

Timidly I step into
those old shoes,
they might still fit

The shores I walked
the streets I ran
in color, the flashbacks hit

This is the place I’ve been stuck before
all the places I took them off
and cried

But where I have to go
I am not going alone
this time

Gingerly my fingers touch
that old paintbrush
I might still know how to use

I still see in every canvas
the grieving monsters
I let loose

These are the reasons I fear to paint
all the dark in my heart
allowed to escape

But as one hand timidly paints
the other is warmly held
this time

These voices are with me now
telling me I deserve to be here, too
so maybe I can walk again,
maybe I will paint
but timidly