coffee out with maria

why is it that when I see you I cry immediately,

like someone punched in a cash register button in my heart

and the drawer slides open, pouring out vulnerabilities

 – you, oblivious, too young to understand –

I want to ask you how you got this way,

why your eyes are unfocused behind your cute little glasses. that would be rude

but the way you’re eating ice cream with your hands is rude too

so your mother leads your limping hand away,

to wash you clean, the way my mother did.

your parents maybe wonder why

this stranger is watching their child and slowly overflowing with tears?

(she misses her brother.)

phone call home

the dead air lightens

with familiar voice,

“hello?”

 –

eyes glaze, I am

sitting on the cracked countertop

chai in hand,

– their intonation, so well-known,

takes me straight into that warm Sunday night, believing after Bible study.

as they speak, i see

the way she tosses her hair when she laughs

his crooked, Han Solo smile

Mom’s ticking steps through the halls

her upper lip curled under in her wide smile, the way it always does

when she’s really laughing – the way that I am now,

as they know just what to say.

 –

Mid-joke, mid-laugh, the line cuts.

 I am holding an empty shell of metal and plastic to my face

straining, yearning

as the memories fade

and I am alone again in this icy silence, so much

colder after a breath of warm air.

homesick.

repeated dream:

you and i push off in a little boat, laughing

breaking the filmy layer of ice

using our oars to guide us around the frozen chunks.

Every time, we begin to sink

the boat tilts, spilling us

I crash into the waters, which break

and I fall into the river of home.

It is warm, and my eyes open

emerging from the gloomy depths,

weathering crocodiles,

I gasp onto shore,

a rocky bank breaking the rapids.

You are gone, and I know where to go from here.

I tear my clothes from my skin and fly into the waves, carried

on a current I understand.