Monday, September 5, 2016

Day 2: Unsmall

This. Poem. Is. Driving. Me. Crazy.  There's so much to say here, and so much emotion, and so much I can't fit into it, and so much that has to go unsaid.  And also, my poem writing muscles are rusty.  And also, I'm tired.  And also...and also...and also....*excuses excuses and whining.*

I said I would write every day for 30 days.  And I will.  I will try not to whine a lot in the process.  But this is also hard.  (And you can also kick my butt for whining).

So many things.

One thing about me: I hate coming up with titles.  It's the last thing to do, and I kind of slap on a crappy title at the end when I'm burned out on the poem and just want this shit over with.  So right now, the title is "Unsmall."  Do you think "Why We Danced" is a better title?"  You can vote.  I'm all about the voting on titles.  (Because I hate them, in case you missed that).  

I have been staring at this for too long.  I think I need food.  And to not stare at this.  Because holy crap.  I think my computer is overheating along with my brain and my heart.  

Unsmall

We were friends the way 
10-year-olds who don't fit meld together into a unit of awkward by necessity. 
We didn't understand each other and didn't have to because 
we were 10 and didn't know the burdens we carried or 
how to name ourselves and our lives but it didn't matter because we danced
for the same reason and knew it. 

I was the shy, bullied girl with too-big glasses; he, the only boy in dance class,
and we somehow fit into each other's space with an ease we knew did not just happen --
but we got to know each other's quiet pauses. The ways his eyes would soften when he knew
things weren't good at home or
the costume did not fit or
they closed my fingers in the dressing room door - again, and
I knew the way he was practicing jumps when
things weren't good at home
or school
or anywhere
and we would lose ourselves in
who could jump higher or
who could pirouette longer and this
is why we danced.

Hey Buddy, he would say, and we would
sit on the steps where we
weren't supposed to be but
no one would stop us because together we were
invisible and invincible and
it was never love but I loved him in a way that made us
not small at a time when we were both
unseen: we could
dance each other large
if only for a moment and
what is love anyway but making each other
unsmall?

Life happens, in spite of unsmall love and
I haven't seen him for more years than I knew him, but
after 13 years, when I saw his mother's obituary, 
I knew I had to go.

He stands on the porch, smoking a cigarette
wearing a too big suit and the weight of the world on his body.
Hey Buddy, I say.
He shakes his head like he used to and his eyes go soft.
It's been so many years, he says.
I hug him tight, his shoulders broader somehow than at 17,
I feel so small against his frame.
I can't believe you came, he says, and his voice
cracks under the weight.

I hold him with my eyes and know this love can still
make us unsmall and
for a moment
we are there, 
dancing each other
large.

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