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Growing Up

For Elana

At some point in our lives it is 1998 and our dresses are wet. We are up all night, smoking joints in the upstairs bathroom. You let us make spaghetti at 2am. Eat all your father’s leftovers. Get felt up on your sister’s bed. We like boys that don’t deserve the conversation we have after everyone’s gone to sleep. 


You yell at the store manager when I am stealing. / I tell you the truth, we laugh when I take the earrings out of my pocket.

I lie and say the cigarettes in my car are yours. / We meet at the beach. Thank you.


I don’t want to learn how to spell cancer this year, give it a stage name. I’ve seen diseases with deep maroon curtains, the cast holding hands, waiting for carnations to be thrown at their feet.


What if gold grew out of your pelvis, calcification, bow & arrow, a corporate exchange so beautiful people would comment, glorious. I have a difficult time thinking about the aesthetics of disease. The small of your back. The weight of blue paper dresses. 


On the corner of the bathroom mirror is a bell, girls come home.

It was just yesterday when we were lying on the grass

on the eastern edge of a peninsula.

You told me you were dreaming of snow. 


I cried this morning thinking about uncertainty. Thinking about transportation. Thinking about the blonde streaks in your blonde hair. Can we rewind two oceans? Can I make it to all the birthdays and weddings that I missed? 

We made promises:

We’d never come back. I’d never. 


Just yesterday I was thinking of all the teenage hospital visits, how you smiled even through the tightness in your throat. The stupid shit we did. Hopping fences. Talking about marriage. Walking to the park to watch the sunset. Not even the sun’s radioactive hue could break you open.


I am thousands of miles from your hands. Can I hold you?

I can send flowers. 

Posted 04/02/15
National Poetry Month; April 2, 2015
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