17, a birthday

Most Birthdays,

I weep.

But not 17


When I was thirteen 

I cut my hair too short,

and got that camera I wanted

and I wept into my mothers shoulder

because I didn't feel fufilled.


I remember a lot of blood 

on both of my brothers knees;

a skid down a hill

and a bent bycicle frame,

and I cried far more than he did,

but for myself,

but for silence.


11 I was too young,

and 12 too young,

and 15 far older than anyone ever wanted me to be.

And on 17 I heard three crooked words

that didn't mean much of anything

and I slept in an old house alone for the first time,

a house where I am supposed to feel the presence of kind ghosts

and wooden wardrobes

and the smell of dried cranberries 

and stale pages of books I'll never read.

I was glad to sleep next to the thought of Louise,

but my mind was filled with those three crooked words,

and a soreness I felt elsewhere.


Sometimes I feel like

this big, 

gaping woman,

with arms spreading the length of this farm,

and an embrace that could warm me

and wrap myself inside of myself, hundreds of times over.

But then I sink back into my innocence

and that big gaping woman inside me

holds on to that thirteen year old buzzed cut girl in my depths.

I sink back,

and I am 17

and on this birthday,

for the first time,

I have something real to weep about,


but my arms stayed folded, 

and my eyes stayed dry. 

This poem is about: 


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