As we sat on the porch, he touched my thigh and his fingers were stained from the blueberries he picked this morning. Their bitterness was still on the back of my tongue. I wanted to suck the stains from his fingertips but I just moved his hand higher up my thigh.
I thought we were all the same but as I was inside my dead body and looking into the murky river bottom I knew that some are wanting to run and some are afraid to run and maybe they are broken and are angry for it.
—Dave Eggers, “After I was Thrown in the River”
But I would rather be horizontal.
I am not a tree with my root in the soil
Sucking up minerals and motherly love
So that each March I may gleam into leaf,
Nor am I the beauty of a garden bed
Attracting my share of Ahs and spectacularly painted,
Unknowing I must soon unpetal.
Compared with me, a tree is immortal
And a flower-head not tall, but more startling,
And I want the one’s longevity and the other’s daring.
Tonight, in the infinitesimal light of the stars,
The trees and flowers have been strewing their cool odors.
I walk among them, but none of them are noticing.
Sometimes I think that when I am sleeping
I must most perfectly resemble them—
Thoughts gone dim.
It is more natural to me, lying down.
Then the sky and I are in open conversation,
And I shall be useful when I lie down finally:
Then the trees may touch me for once, and the flowers have
time for me.
- Sylvia Plath
Of all the needs (there are none imaginary) a lonely child has, the one that must be satisfied, if there is going to be hope and a hope of wholeness, is the unshaking need for an unshakable God. My pretty Black brother was my Kingdom Come.
—Maya Angelou,I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
I don’t remember if it was already dead when Uncle Kerry brought it into the house but the thing died at some point. The orange cat took the baby bird right from the tree, nest and all. After showing me where Jersey had sunk her claws in, Uncle Kerry set the bird, still curled in its nest, next to the microwave. I couldn’t stop staring at its pink skin while he rummaged through the freezer looking for something. You don’t think of birds having skin underneath their feathers, you know? Or at least I never had until he brought that bird into the house. Then from a plastic bag in the freezer, he pulls out another bird but this one wasn’t a baby. So we just stand there in the kitchen staring at these two birds, victims of the skinny house cat and I couldn’t for the life me understand why I was smiling.
Stuck. Lodged in a corner against the wall, bare feet touching the wood floor, skin sinking into the cracks and grooves. I peel the paint with my fingernails. Chips gather beneath them pricking the skin, making them bleed. There is white beneath the paint and it quickly soaks in the blood welling under my nails. A blur of red on the white wall, tangible proof.
mamua asked: What do your insides look like? Metaphorically speaking of course.
My insides are soft and flowing. They are a river, coursing over the feet of a little girl dressed in yellow, sitting along the edge. She watches them thicken and thin, morphing like the changing seasons. But lately, my insides have succumbed to the tempest. Unsettled, hungry, always wanting more. Somewhere beneath the raging colors of the storm, the girl sits motionless with her feet dangling in the water. The violent breeze sings to her and the rushing water sloshes in between her toes. Her cheeks redden from the cold but she does not move because she knows it will pass. Besides, there’s something beautiful about a storm, isn’t there?