double coupon day, trauma half off (while supplies last)
if you unravel my bowels
will you be able to excise
the biblical ache
that is my mother's rot
that she packratted
so deep inside me
i can't be sure
this horror isn't organic
To my period on her 21st birthday
I think back to when we first met.
It was the first time I saw my grandmother
in any state of undress.
I knocked on the door of our guest bedroom
-- well that’s fancier than the truth.
I knocked on the door of the computer room,
which had a pull-out sofa
that mom bought after dad died
so grandma could sleepover
when mom worked Saturdays.
She was wearing a bra, no shirt.
Something about the urgency of my knock
or the quiver in my voice told her
there was a no time for a worn out cotton t shirt
in some variation of the same neutral beige.
From a generation where driving
was an unnecessary luxury
because there was always a city bus,
she walked to a local grocery
on the other side of the tracks.
I sat at home on a jumbo maxi pad
from the plastic Always pack
my mom kept in the cabinets above the shower.
I stood on the edge of the tub to reach them.
When my grandpa called to say good morning to his wife,
he couldn’t understand why she would
have left me alone to go to the store.
I didn’t know how to tell him.
When mom got home from work,
we went to dinner to celebrate my first period.
I am sure I ordered steak tacos.
And now, I call my grandma,
and she tells me that god has forgotten her
because everyone has died
and she is still here.
I tease god hasn’t forgotten her.
He gave her me.
Her silence tells me
that’s not enough.
Standing at the bathroom sink
I rinse unused uterine lining
from a stretched out pair of panties.
Same as I always have.
I’ll order tacos for dinner to celebrate
twenty-one years of sloughing,
twenty-one years of rinsing out soon-to-be stains,
twenty-one years of my grandmother and I growing up
realizing all the ways god forgot us
and all the ways that doesn’t really matter
as much as we’d thought it would.
Do You Have a Minute?
You/Me: So… 
Me/You: I’m fine. 
 Is this ok to say? I know we’ve been through a lot, but will you leave me if I say this. Is this the too far we haven’t been able to find yet. Not for lack of trying. Not for lack of effort. Not for lack of lack of effort. Not that we’re together. So maybe you can’t even really leave me. Not that we can ever really not be together. I think we can both agree it’s too late to try that. If I just keep adding ellipses, will you be able to guess what I want to say? Will you be able to say it for me? Or better yet just respond without requiring anything at all from me. I am hoping you will. But you already know that. Right?
 Don’t make me say anything else. Just leave it where it is. It’s not ok. But that’s ok. There’s nothing else it could be. So we’ll take what it is and make what we need out of it. We’ll take what we need and try to forget the rest ever existed in the first place. If we can’t do that, we’ll laugh about the parts that hurt too much and talk about how far we’ve come. Though, sometimes it feels like we’re right where we’ve always been. Writing the saddest parts of us down on scraps of paper while the other one sleeps.
27 February, 2021