Monday, September 6, 2010

I don’t believe in 25
The magic happens at 16 and possibly 17
a quick flash from a disposable camera and then it’s over
left-over Chinese food and spilt milk
this is what I will leave you with
when I leave your house
the crumbs on your fire-escape
a trail to nowhere in particular

If someone had warned me that I would wake up
And suddenly feel old before my time
In a car in the middle of the highway
Bumps and clanks me around
And I am so far from the womb I came from
So far from the shrill cries of teenage angst
And whatever it is you people do nowadays

Once I wondered if I’d grow up to be a brighter bulb
And platinum bombshell queen of the underground
I grew up scared
I was a tiny scratch on your record
A whisper in the trees
A voice so hoarse and soft
Only your flesh knows the words
Your mouth cannot fathom

I told her that she’d begin to grow up
Just like me
If she made all the right mistakes
The ones with boys in cars
And the ones where she picks up the wrong thing
Smokes something
I knew there’d come a time
Where she’d wake up with a buzz
In her ears
It would seem
But the flicker is gone
And the static remains
Adjusting the bunny-ears on an old television
Nothing makes sense
Everything would fall like white snow
On a black screen
One day she’d wake up—thirty
With bills to pay and an unclean kitchen
One day she’d learn to pray
Hard and fast
Wake up in a pant—
“God grant me the serenity…”
One day she’d wake up in a haze of
Soup cans and one word answers
But nothing can be explained
Or solved or fathomed with one word

I was always my mother’s daughter
Her skin- alabaster white
I’d always aim to please
Bend and twist to suit her needs
I’d lay flat on the floor if she needed to walk over me
Once I wrote the melodies
You play on repeat in your heart
An over-used music box that knows the song
Slightly off key and a little bit delayed
My mother is magic and too big to fit inside a poem
Or a hallmark card
She is black boots and eyeliner
She is brash and spectacular
She knows all the answers
And she is nothing like me
Scared and shy, pretending to be

-Z.A. 2010

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