Graces

To exist.

To safely arrive from one point to another,

To enjoy the momentary stillness amidst the honking of horns,

To radiate the warmth of sunlight into another person’s hand,

To take advantage of being cold as an invitation to intimacy,

To write without fear, to create without warning,

To look into the eyes of a child, defying demarcations of time,

To impregnate yourself with joy, to be expectant of it,

To partake in the labor of the universe,

To surrender a bit in the grand order of things,

    floating on an endless ocean, finding your breath underwater,

    leaving your children in their sleep, trusting their innate gift,

To live, to swim, to grow their own gills,

To find water wherever there is,

     becoming more aware that the going and returning are just halves,

     of a person I long knew, and will know,

These are graces I continually thank for

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A Bedtime Story

My parent’s warning: Never wear your crown because it shines too bright.
If you desire to be rescued by princes, you have to be a pure-hearted girl
Who sings good songs and asks safe questions.
Leaving her empire behind, she rides on his steed
Swallowing the rest of her senses behind her coy smile
(She can puke it out later, when they live happily ever after).

I’m sorry, mother.
I’ve tried my best to be nice. I’ve been a good little girl,
But what do I get with being cute? A man’s knee pressed to my leg.
Uninvited.
His thighs a spread canopy at the bottom of the dinner table,
Asserting the space that he thinks is his.
Pushing me at the edges.
For supper, he serves morsels of moral convictions with his mouth,
And leaning to me closer, he breathes,
“You should come with me to church.”

I am already tired of the kisses people steal in the dark
When their mouths speak of chastity in the morning.
“No, I never intend to have sex with you,”
But his fingers spider its way at the hem of my skirt.
We’ve never been chaste
Yet we show up at masses every Sunday,
Waiting for the rites to end
For the lights to turn off again
So that we can attend to what’s already burning.

Lover, you should already know that
my tongue is a fire that cannot be quenched
by any distilled sparkling water you drink everyday.
It’s too late now. You cannot rescue me.                                                                                         It demands. It hungers.
And it speaks of your undoing. Saying,
“White Knight, here’s what I want: I want to see you fully at your unmasking.”
Turn on the lights. I am not blinded nor scared by your sharp edges,
Your jagged pieces, your naked self that is stripped of armor and defenses.
I am not anymore a little girl who faints at the sight of blood.
I have been torched through many stakes.
My heart, already a live coal which no man can put out.

If you really want me, you have to take part in the burning.
Else, you remain in the shadows and become
the very monster you fear under your bed.