The phone rings and it is never anyone giving me money.
Church ceilings painted to look like skies fill me with fury.
The pew hard against my back, I’d rather be
outside and how many times in my life have I said
what was I saying again, distracted by something
beautiful like stained glass, something ugly
like a slur. And I have been called a dirty Irish girl,
prepared to throw down in the coffee shop,
one time in my life this happened, some people
have slurs wrap around them like skin.
Once, affectionately, I tried calling a friend
a bitch and the word lay between us like egg
shell and yolk smashed and oozing on the plate, when here
I thought it was hard-boiled.
Have you ever seen
the feet of a ballet dancer? Mangled toes and
calluses. I didn’t have the arch, or the discipline.
I picture words like ballet slipping away as I get older,
and oh the leaps my hands will make to mime.
My grandmother had many feelings toward
the Japanese, as a WWII vet, and forgot all of them
because of her roommate Michiko in the nursing home.
I have had loss in my life. My grandmother crying in my arms
after grandfather died, so worried they’d have to
cut off his feet to fit him in the coffin.
Waking up after you have taken enough pills
to die is a strange feeling, I felt so horribly sick
to my stomach and surprised, if anything.
Teetering around the room like an invalid,
I threw up, I brushed my teeth, I washed my face.
People have told me they would pray for me.
That God wouldn’t let me be an atheist.
I hope it made them feel better.
What makes me feel better is someone
lightly rubbing their fingers along my scalp.
The shampoo girl does it perfectly.
I allow myself this every few months.
Any more than that, I start to feel self-indulgent.