How to Be
1. I thought if I hurt somebody, it would come back to haunt me in other ways so I never broke an egg, I never scowled, I never dug my nails into the dirt or pulled out my own hair or cursed a bolt of lightning. I smiled. I said “Yeah, we should probably just be friends.” I said “No, really, I’m fine.”
2. When the water drips from the faucet, I sing the song my mother taught me as a child. The one for protection.
3. I practice saying “no,” because I don’t know how to not let people use me. I maybe have never known. I have spent 22 years being agreeable. Tonight, I am carving “fuck you” into my tongue so every word I speak will be touched by it.
4. There was a time when I thought letting go of a thing meant it would be gone. Now I push things and they do not budge. I tie ropes around them and pull but they do not tip. My grief defies the rules of gravity.
5. You were a statue behind 6 inch thick glass. I bought a membership to the museum so I could visit you every day. I know you from every angle.
6. I say hello to you when I see you at the bar. I sip my beer in silence. I am trying to be a good person. I am not trying to ruin your life. One life was enough.
7. I am a coffee stain or a sword in a stone.
8. When the rain falls, I feel your hands on my hips, sliding into panties.
9. I am inventing a machine so I can go back to 2007 and tell you “no.” I am inventing a machine so I can call a 16 year old version of myself and tell her that saying no will not hurt her. In the long run, yes hurts more.