Hitting the Nail on the Head

It began with my mother (like so many things)

Reading love poems in the computer room,

Skipping over the dirty ones, giggling at jokes I didn’t get,

And memorizing the look of her little red book.


But I didn’t make it sacred until I was

20 years old and the words “I love you,”

Fumbled out of my lips like a loose cannonball—

I wanted to say something more; I wanted to tell him

How it felt to be stupid, young, and in love with a disaster; I wanted to cure him

Of his faults with sweet words like dirty gospel,

And poetry was my way –


Because there’s a moment before the hammer hits the nail when

The nail starts to get anxious; and I got anxious around him.

I was waiting for the blow to land, for my

Beautiful disaster to fall apart, and I needed to say something

To capture the moments in between the possibility of having everything

And the reality of having nothing, watching his loud youth wash off;

Poetry was my way.


This poem is about: 


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