_Un_Expected& it broke my heart soI chose boiled broccoliover apples, preferringa sulfurous stenchto the perfumeof your favored fruit.Between swallows,I contemplated clichés.
BoyMany women will write poetryfrom you. They will translateyour nose into an apostropheyour smile to the front sideof a parentheses, the backto tears only once admitted.They will filter your father's ashesinto adverbs that define your fingersquaking along skin and sintoward fibrous paper. They will dismiss your flawsas improperly placed commasor periods born before their time.They will inspect, perfect& infect you with emotionsyou never learned to muster.But none of them will knowyou as I did: a boy, bentbeneath the waves of loveand glad for it.
Death to the ConspiratorI harbor a foolish hope that sensation might flee my body.The soldiers ordered to escort us make an awful commotion. Their boots click sharply against cobblestone floors while their guns and belts rattle with each stride. I feel the vibrations in my teeth. Father Jacob walks just ahead of us and snorts loudly every third or fourth step, as though trying to clear his nostrils of the prison's stench.I have forgotten the scent of a warm summer day. We leave the gates and stone walls behind and step into the sun. It washes my vision in creamy white. My eyes adjust quickly. There is grass - rich, moist, and springy under my step. A pale haze rises above the city in the distance, and the white dome of the Capitol building reflects the sun brilliantly.Briefly, I wonder if Jackson's hand hesitated before it signed my fate.I cannot avoid it now, rising above the heads of the parade in front of me: the gallows, constructed not an entire day before. Fresh planks still reek of pine and cedar s
The First Time I Cried While Reading PoetryHe asked if a soul can achewhile I wondereddo little girls in Thailandsleeping in servitudeand blameless sinbelieve God loves them?He reached across the sheets, pressedthe pad of his left thumb into my hip,and impaled miracles on dull words:"look at us, all agony and grace."Then rolled away. I kissed his palms,closed my eyes,knew love to be a rabid dog.The first time I cried while reading poetry,he sighed and asked:"does the world make more sensewhen it's blurry?" No. But the bite doesn't hurt as much.
To My Younger SelfDear Little Lili,Never try to cut your own hair. God or genetics or the fates (whatever we'll eventually prefer) blessed us with many skills, but coordination is not one of them. For this reason avoid any sport that requires contact with others. You'll save a few broken bones.Read everything. Books will be better friends to you than most people, but that is because they are humanity distilled - all of the beauty and none of the beast. Love them accordingly.Touch the barbs of velvet-petal roses before you inhale their perfume. Get used to the way blood wells, then rolls across the ridges in your skin. Emotions are not so different. You cannot cross through this life without a few scars, but you can prepare yourself for the pain.Love the people you meet. This will be so easy for you now, while you are young and see the world so clearly. With time, grime will slowly creep into your vision - a cancer of the heart and soul that medicine has yet to diagnose.Hold on to the words from the