If you scowl,
they’ll know. They’ll see
into that cave smile
and know—if you frown,
it’s clear to them, that
your mind is a burrito and you
are the tortilla, wrapped so endlessly
it’d take the sharpest knife to
separate that mound. If you let
a tear squeeze through
they’ll see and gasp and wonder
what must have happened
to you to make you like this.

If you tell him what you’re feeling—
abandonment, low self-esteem,

you just can’t. Who do you think
you are? That’s
selfish; think of it
from his perspective. He doesn’t
feel that way; so why
do you? Don’t scowl
(they’ll know) don’t cry don’t
grovel or shake because they’ll
see you and wonder
what must have happened to you
to make you like this. Is that
the image you want is that
the girl you want to be seen as
what happened to the youth the power
the raw female body that’s yours
what happened to the chin held high the
it’s all just bullshit but you can’t
let them know.

This is not a profound
poem. You think it is?
You think you’re the first
to be a human? Welcome to a world
of suffering you don’t understand;
look around you. Look at
the real sufferers, the real ones
who sleep in a bed of flies
on a mound of dirt, the ones
who have nothing. You think
you’ve got nothing but you really
know nothing


God, pause.

Let me show you something.

Hold out your hand.
Trust me.

This is our hand.

look at your finger.

That is our finger.
Do you see those three lines?
Do you see how they sorta wink at you when you bend our finger?

Look at our hand.

Look what our hand can create.
Look what that one finger can do. Just that one.

That one finger can
scrap the last of the cookie dough from the bowl.
That one finger can
taste if the soup needs more salt.
You’re not hungry?
Okay. That one finger can
crease the fold of a paper snowflake.
You’re not impressed?
That’s okay.
You don’t have to be impressed.
Do you remember where
you got that ring from? The one
on your pinkie finger?
Do you remember finding it on the concrete
streets of Christchurch, as you were walking to meet Max and Drew?

That was real.

Look at your hand.

That is real.

You are real.
I see you.



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