POETRY & PROSE

Acrophobia

As I watch a black bird
fly to the top of a tree
I can’t help but wonder:
can birds be afraid of heights?

If so, do they get teased,
given nicknames like “kiwi”
and always being hit with seeds
from other bird bullies in high up trees?

What’s real estate like for them?
Do they have to pass up penthouses
for not so bougie bungalows
in the marshes with frogs and mosquitoes
as their not-so-conventional neighbors?

Are family gatherings a nightmare
spent trying to hold it together
hundreds of feet on a small tree branch
as in-laws talk about their new pet flea?

And do they even want to overcome their fear,
or have they become content with their life
preferring to live outside of the nestbox
close to ground?

I mull through this and the bird squawks
as it soars away to its next stop
reminding me to quit overthinking
and walk home

I Know How Lucky I Am

Hearing that song I’m brought back to that bed
where you’d been whittling wood

making an elephant if I remember right

At that time

over half a decade’s moons passed
to be precisely particular

I was falling in love
not realizing how the song
would come to bring chills of finger tips to my body
touching me and my space without my permission

But that song doesn’t touch me the same way anymore
much like how your violent gestures have stopped long ago
leaving me in an empty room that I’ve come to fill
with framed photographs and objects of love in action

From People I’ve regrettably hurt along the way
waiting for them to lose their patience with me
in some sick self-fulfilling prophecy

I know now that, after what you did to me,
I wasn’t always the easiest person to love
with my scared silence and irrational fears of being yelled at

or worse

always testing the boundaries to see if this person was just
going to be like the monster you were

But everyday I learn more about myself
and I Know How Lucky I Am
to know you wouldn’t even recognize me today
and I’m so glad

you’ll never know anything about me anymore

Writed Lefts

Righting wrongs
is hard when words dry up
when things go

down south

to mass graves of San Fernando

When I’d prefer to think
my actions are left justified

But

I know that’s not true —
I know I’ve overreacted.
After time, guilt becomes
a comfortable uncomfortability

A fine balancing act of managing
a stack of plates
wobbling unevenly in the center of my stomach
on a bowling ball of shame

I wish I could stop and stare at the plates
only getting to briefly look at passing images
of mazes, negatives, and a red prius among other things
before stacking them onto an ever-growing pile

But

in control of it all
is that damned bowling ball in the shape
of a person’s head with hair dyed crimson
and jagged fangs that sunk in

leaving scars in my teens

deep in my amygdala

from a slinking snake

an immortal hydra
no matter how many
heads I cut off

It couldn’t be beat

until I learned,
like the computer in WarGames,
that “the only winning move is not to play”

But

I sit in a garden of snakes
offspring of the hydra
mortal, but ever-resurfacing

And I know

It’s time to grow up and leave
this garden of garter snakes
waiting for the next one to bite
so I can draw attention to a preventable pain

I intend to leave this yard today
and turn it into a research site
only meant to teach me a life lesson
and never to hurt me
or anyone else again