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A Wish

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*** NO HEARTS / NO FLOWERS***

In order for there to be family tradition,
There must first be family
Two dandelion seeds
Traveling the wind’s
Careful breath
On the wings
Of aspiration

***AT MY DOOR***

She watches Serena throw her head back with an emphatic chuckle.
Watches her sip wine after a long day in theatre.
Is done for.

Hands tangled,
She lets Serena win
If it will keep them together

(Longer)

*** NO CARDS ***

A smarter person than us
Once said:

I do not believe in weeds
Look at all that glorious color

A weed is simply a flower
Someone decides
Is in the wrong place

***FROM SOMEONE I ADORE***

It’s easy for Bernie to bury herself under things,
Until it isn’t.

Until she’s begging for permission
Convinced she’s made a mistake

But is so full of gratitude
(In making it)
So full of finally

She does not expect:
Their shared breath
Beating hearts
Inevitability.

Serena reaching for her
As confirmation
That it was a mistake

Until it wasn’t.

*** AND YET IT SEEMS***

It deserves an efficacious spot
In which to flourish!

Flourish (v.):
To grow or develop in a healthy way,
especially as the result of
a particularly favorable environment

***YOU ARE THE FOCUS***

The shovel continues to move
Convinces her the denouement
Of their mutual warmth
Has passed.

She lifts each pile of dirt
Each name,
Each want,
Each love.

Wonders when
It will finally
Be deep enough.

Solipsism reaches its hands
Around her eyes
Tells her to go.

Reminds her of
Befores and afters.

Blinds her of
Heres and nows.

Serena apologizes.
As though she had
Dug the grave herself.

But Bernie knows
Where this train is headed
And deboards
Before it can reach
Its destination.

***OF MY DREAMS***

The hill near
A childhood home
Is covered in dandelions

Hundreds of unmade wishes.

Later a road is paved,
Now a space more useful

Than the bruised knees
And dizzied heads
Of children

Rolling down.

*** OH HOW I WISH ***

Serena wants her
To want to change
Her own name to

BERENICE BLOODY.

Is more mad at herself
For allowances,
Than she is
At Bernie

For taking advantage.

*** THAT I COULD BE ***

Where do wishes go
When they’re outside
The body?

Where do they live
Inside?

*** YOUR VALENTINE ***

And in that moment
The only thing
She wants is
To find Serena
To apologize.
For being gone
For digging.

Bernie paces, focused
Walking a labyrinth
Through the hallway

As though she doesn’t know
Where she’s headed.
Prolonging the hope
Of maybe

Instead of the certainty
Of no.

But soon they are
Pressed against the desk
Cleansed of the missing
The apprehension

Jason says:
TELL HER YOU LOVE HER.

And she does.

***THERE IN THE MIDDLE***

Children stare
At the ground
Wait patiently
Wonder when
The flowers
Will sprout

*** OF MY DAY ***

Forever is a mirage.
They are happy
For exactly two weeks.

They spend 14 nights
In bed together
Consume 28
Cups of coffee
Between them
During drowsy mornings
In Serena’s kitchen

Elinor visits

Bernie moves home

Elinor crushes pills

Bernie gives them space

Elinor puts pieces together

Bernie avoids questions

Elinor refuses treatment

Bernie holds Serena

Elinor dies.

And then what?

*** YOU SMILED AND TOOK ***

Adults tell children
That dandelions
Are unsightly.

Ask them
To make wishes
Away from their
Homes.

***MY BREATH AWAY***

Serena’s office becomes
A sea of Shiraz
Of yelling
And grief.

The only thing
she can control—
her breath
Down Jasmine’s neck.

The heated swirls
Of rage
The hands
Around throats

And Serena needs
Another bottle
A daughter
An exorcism.

*** THE SUN BROKE THROUGH ***

(And we break the rules
Blowing seeds into
Our own yards)

*** THE MOMENT I LAID ***

Bernie calls
The evening
Jas flatlines

Bernie calls
The evening
Funding is cut

Other days,
Her thumbs
Hover
Indecisive

She books a flight
Packs a bag
Makes a decision —
For once

The door to Serena’s flat opens
Bernie barely has an opportunity
To set down the wine she’s brought

Before they’re in exaltation
Remembering all of the reasons
They’ve missed each other

Bernie waits for her
Helps her compose herself
Tastes salt on her cheeks
Spreads her legs

*** EYES ON YOU ***

We wish
And wish
And wish
And wish
And wish
And wish

*** OH HOW I WISHED ***

Serena is
BEING
VERY
USEFUL

(Full of
Missing,
As usual)

(Of want.)

And in this
Otherwise
Empty space,
She calls herself
Nan

Calls herself
Beloved

Believes
she is part
of her own
Family

That she is necessary
Valuable.

Not just some
Thing
Left behind.

*** THAT I COULD BE ***

How many seasons pass
Until we become the askers

Until we tell our children
Not to wish?

*** YOUR VALENTINE ***

Bernie surprises her
Sits in her office
Like before

Serena knows
She can want two things
But does not know
If she can want three things

Does not know really,
What she wants
This or that
Or both or
Nothing

Things weren’t confusing
For awhile
Now they are
(Again)
(Always)

Perpetual motion,
Perpetual want

This overcommitment
This desire

They sit together
And Serena asks
How Bernie got her family

Wonders
If Bernie
will become her family

If she will let
Bernie be
Her family

I have seen the scar.
She says, referencing
France and her lips
On Bernie’s abdomen

Curious if anyone
Took their first breath
Near Bernie’s breast

(As she did)

*** THE YEARS SLIP ***

An odd day
When we are grown
We gather our wishes

Pretend they are real

Meaningful

Possible

*** SILENTLY AWAY ***

In order for there to be family tradition,
There must first be family
They must first agree
That they are family

That they can be
Family

That they are choosing
To be family

*** SOMEHOW ***

We are told we’re not doing enough
As weeds bloom in our grass

Not doing it right

Not doing

*** I MISSED ***

It feels like
She’s uncoiling
The Christmas lights
Of her stomach

Prioritizing

(Indecision)

Having made a home
In this state of flux

Her hope being
She’d be able to
Borrow sugar from
Bernie

In their shared neighborhood

Bernie says,
I want you.
I don’t care
how long it takes.

There is loneliness
In this want
This flux
This flight

Bernie tells Fleur
She will kill her in
Thirteen different ways

Serena creates
Thirteen new problems
To solve
Lists thirteen new things
They should try
Kisses Bernie thirteen times

Before the hourglass runs out

*** THE CHANCE TO SAY ***

They don’t see us
On our knees

Pulling

Planting

Doing

Wishing

*** IT MUST BE CLEARER ***

Serena dyes her hair
(The first of many
poor decisions)

She doesn’t know what she wants
She doesn’t know how easily
She’s distracted
How easily she becomes
What she’s most admonished

She needs a place
To bury this blame

So she borrows
Bernie’s shovel
Begins to dig

*** NOW THAN DAY ***

In fall, each leaf
Crunches spectacularly
under shoes.

Each leftover dandelion seed
Hides for the winter with
The whisper of want
In its ear

Waiting.

*** THOUGH THERE ARE ***

She can’t say.
Anythingthisthat.

Wishes Bernie would stop
Surprising her

Wishes Bernie would stop

Wishes Bernie wouldn’t stop

Serena sets her own parameters
Chooses her own family

Catches a bouquet of dandelions
At Jason’s wedding

Looks for Bernie
Looks for Bernie
Looks for Bernie

*** SONGS AND POEMS ***

And where do
The flowers go
During winter?

Do they shrink
Disappear
Cease

Are they waiting
For spring
To call them home?

*** LOVELIER THAN MINE ***

They have decided
Forever is too long
(But they’ll always
Have Paris)

Many months later,
Serena sees Cam
And knows what
She must do

(CHOOSE)

She appears at Bernie’s door
Free from haphazard indecision

Expects nothing—
(Needs Bernie to know)
Each breath an apology
An ask for forgiveness

Serena knows
She won’t acquiesce
Resigns to this
closure
This ending

But Bernie invites her in
To talk

And she accepts.

*** HOW MUCH I WISH ***

We plant the seeds
(We blow the seeds)

Year after year
They grow

And yet

There’s still
A point in winter

When we think:
Will this be the year?

Will the dandelions live
Until my birthday?

*** THAT I COULD BE ***

Many winters later
They sit on a couch

(Their couch)

In front of a fire

(Their fire)

Buried in one another
As they have been

A family

*** YOUR VALENTINE ***

When the days begin
To grow longer

And the flowers end their hibernation,

The yellow strands of each dandelion
Call to the grass:

I’m here,
I’m here,
I’m here.