I was 8 pounds born
and the nurse called me,
in red skin, wrinkles, screams,
the beautiful one.
I rode my bicycle
through the wide open cul-de-sac
and into a basketball pole.
I failed my first test in Junior year.
I made a cross-country journey
to a new land and
made my first friend
three long years later.
I read Redwall under the monkey bars
and learned about words.
When I moved my hands, the
I conducted a band,
I conducted my family,
I wept from the beauty of it all.
I burned brownies and still
I ate lunch in the bathrooms in
My best friend saved me and is now
saving the world.
The clean, orderly scars on my
have turned white in the sun
during hard work, sweaty work that
made me ache, a good ache.
I once pushed my toddler brother
into the deep-end.
I have learned humility.
My pet turtle, Shelly, laid five eggs
and ate them.
I was a slave to retail America, stocking yarn and puff paint. I sweated in the
back room of a bakery, I crunched
numbers in a cubicle.
I have driven, my eyes too dark with tears to see, but I only ran a red light
I once gave up on meat for
ten long months, caving
to a gorgeous Philly-cheesesteak
I have made my horn sing,
made music with
in front of crowds, crowds, and crowds.
At night, I scare myself in the dark
because I cant stop thinking about
the potential of shadows.
I have liked twelve boys,
and only loved one of them.
I am learning.
I am learning.
(I finally know how to write about love.)
I am not a whore.
I chugged Gatorade for a bet
and almost threw it back up all over the steaming parking lot. I have had
my dearest friends stagger
into practice, late and
hungover (I was responsible for them. I gave them Advil and made them run laps with me later; I felt old and young at the same time).
And I have walked away from their
offers, sometimes not even knowing why.
I sent fifty-two query letters to literary agents. Forty-three replied. Two asked to see my work. Zero wanted it. I understood why, but it took me two years.
I once waited all night by the phone.
And I have only seen dad cry twice.
Once when he watched them bury grandpa, the other
when he watched me conduct.
I always cry when I leave the ocean, as if I am leaving the dearest of friends because I am.
I sometimes watch birds and envy them with all of my blood and flesh. I
once thought that I would trade
for a set of wings.
I pinched myself through
every math class I ever took.
I have always seen music as
a healer, a saint, a gift,
an explanation of emotions
that I dont even realize I have.
I lost my baby blanket when I was thirteen.
I have questioned my existence,
but never my mother.
And when I walk, I set my shoulders
back and down so that
I look like I know what Im doing,
like you can trust me.
(You can, you know. I
know what Im doing.)