Day 132 – Dorothy

Dorothy landed and was dizzy and I
refused to help I finally took
a bus to Atlanta and realized
why not

I was not so great and powerful I
was small and very frightened but
I wished with all
my heart
I wanted to help but I
have no
pow
er
s

I walked along the dogwood trees in bloom she
would’ve loved them I knew my
jig was up she had to go I had
to let her go
she wouldn’t find those
dogwood trees
if she stayed with me

she found Glinda

Glinda has magic

but if Glinda goes I
hope she knows
she never needed magic never
needed anybody never needed
me at all

wish I could help
I always
wished I
could

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Day 131 – For Doreen

I forgot to put on sunscreen for the funeral. I didn’t even change out my sneakers for the heels I had packed the night before, so worried about being respectful. I thought those things would matter but death has a way of mocking the little formalities we observe. The dead don’t care what you’re wearing.

But you would’ve reminded me about the sunscreen. The two of us, forever indoors and longing for the beach, our weekends filled with texting screenshots of art projects and Amazon purchases, were so looking forward to the summer we’ve earned. You took your vitamins and your Claritin and paid extra for the UV protection in your sunglasses. I skid in daily on four hours of sleep and haven’t eaten a real vegetable in weeks. Something in the great cosmic milieu tells me there’s something unfair in you being the one who had to go, and me being the one who got to stay. I can’t even remember to put on sunscreen.

Your funeral was filled with the sort of people who would not, and did not, care if I showed up in sneakers. They did not mind that I obviously have the self-preservation instincts of a small child, as evidenced by my beet-red arrival to the memorial. They didn’t judge because you didn’t judge.

You were so well-loved by everyone. It took me by surprise how much I had come to love you, not because of who you are but because of who I am. It may be self-centered to think about it, but I’m not sure I could scrounge up more than a handful of people if my funeral was tomorrow. I burn too many bridges. But you never did; even those who managed to offend you were treated with your signature grace. You left this world with no enemies, and you left it far better than you found it.

So perhaps, in the great cosmic milieu, there’s something fair after all about you being the one who earned that endless summer vacation, and me being the one who has to keep struggling on without you. Where you are you don’t need sunscreen; I’ll try to remember mine from now on.

Day 119 – Honey I Never Knew

Honey I never knew
you were
this big of a fool-
you see,
it isn’t smart to let
somebody else
be in charge
of your livery

Honey I never knew
you were
this big of a fool-
you see,
it isn’t wise to let
your guard be down
around someone
like me

Honey I never knew
you were
this big of a fool
for me-
but now that I know
let’s give it a go-
all kinds of
tomfoolery.

 

Day 114 – Fruitfully

I cannot apologize for my childhood,
for I wasn’t always there.
In all these hundreds of days
I’ve never gone back.

The way we learn to be
is not
the way we’d ever choose

and so

I was
a wrecked flower
from the start.

I cannot apologize for the pathways
stealthily formed
in fragile matter
or the horrors I kept in
by spreading out

I only know for sure
that

the way we try to love
is not
a thing we can control

and so,

fruitfully or not,
I tried.

Day 100 – Lifeblood

We were born in a world
that promised us love,
that preached us backyard summers,
that taught us the value of honest work

We were born in a world
that fed us cinema,
that baited us with dreams it spun,
that led us to the brink and let us go

Come to find,
love’s a scheme we can’t afford
Come to find,
our honest work is not enough
Come to find,
we don’t deserve the things
we selfishly assumed
that we had every right
to desire

And so we are a generation spoiled by
ideology that we did not approve;
now we are a congregation ruled by
technology that we did not invent

Yet we’re the ones who have to fix the system,
the honest work for which they trained us up-
and we don’t have
any lifeblood
to spare.