we’re at felipe’s and itchy asks me if i’ve written the poem about my lipstick on the burrito yet. i feel like the marked burrito is the poem itself and i almost don’t want to touch that but now i have. the real poem is in the way itchy remembers all of me, and memory is a kind of superpower. also a kind of love.
one time marshall took my glasses right off my face and cleaned them for me.
marisa said Aw That’s Love Right There and i agree and then marshall told me my glasses were gross. but that’s Love too. and it’s lots of things and strands of other things and stuff and moon rocks and reflections of trees on just-washed cars, but i’m still afraid to say it out loud when it becomes a rubberband ball around one lone name in my gut.
guac didn’t like to hug when we first met but now she hugs. we also say ‘i love you’ when we hang up on the phone. we still talk on the phone. i’m talking on the phone more often now. i get to say “love” to people a lot more now. this is kind of like practice but also like snapping the rubberbands to wake up what lives in the tangle of them, to get me used to the way it stirs my insides. when i get poetic with guac she tells me poetry hides what i need to Just Fucking Say Already
and she’s right
but then we hug with words and hang up
to test my maternal instinct i want to adopt a basil plant and raise it as my own and never ever pluck any of it for eats. i keep a bottle of dried basil by my bed so i already don’t trust myself but doesn’t something shift when you become a parent?
on the train yesterday, i read a short story about a dad who shook his baby to death on purpose.
my dad would never do that but he has kicked a family computer to death. otherwise only reached for his belt once but the same way you’d reach for the pull of a broken lawnmower. you could annihilate the overgrowth of grass, the spill of Loud and Too Much
if you had it in you to destroy. he never did. but he still spits, still shakes with something when he gets mad.
i’m afraid when i’m older i’ll finally see it for what it is in the half of me that’s his.
my phone changes “i love you” to I Live You and i think that’s closer to the womb than anything else we can say so even when my mom tells me that she kissed her phone because i was on the other end of it, i know i’ll never be half the mother she is even though half of my person is of her unscarred tissue and sunspots
she says “y’aburnee” which means I Love You So Much I Hope I Die First, I Hope You Bury Me and no one that didn’t grow up hearing it realizes that the etymology doesn’t originate in romance - it began as a rumble in the womb. Mothers are the ones that say that word to you more than anyone else in your lifetime. even if they’re not actually saying it out loud. and they mean it and I’m scared
i’ll be a horrible mother. i already am - i’ve left harold behind again. when i visit home, i watch him on the window by the sink. his bamboo looks greener, taller. less hollow. there are oceans inside the flutes of him, they sound along with my mother’s humming as she washes the filo from her hands. there are so many recipes to learn from her. so much selflessness i want to take, which means i’ll never have it
i’ll always be learning how to love, unlearning the haves i think i need to have. getting lipstick on my burrito was the best poem i’ve ever written and i’ll only call anyone on the phone when i have it in me to say I Love You before the dial tone
i love you
all of you
but also i live you. i live you i live you i live you
even if i can’t say it out loud