InsomniaYou asked me how I feltas I sat below you in my thoughtsand I confessed to you my dreadthat I had broken something beautiful.I sat on the curb for hoursin the embryonic morningand the city told me its secrets:A woman walking backwardsthrough the alleyways, determinedtoward a destination she could not see;a man sitting in the road, his bare chestcaved and heaving in the humidity.Later, I returned to the placewhere the broken pieces layAnd I pulverized them beyond recognition,having realized that they meant nothing to me.
StuckI have begun to write in penfor confidence.Day after dayof dirty ruminationI am not yet ready for the universe.I have chosen to sit outside todayand deny myself the comfortsof an enclosed and lonely space.The red-brown trees, sheddingdroplets of water and showersof snow. The white sun reachingout of the black tangle of arms.A strand of spider silk, stretchedbetween the cracked wooden picketsof my perch. My feet on the planks,shifting in the dirt and ash and pine needlesfilthy and pink from the sharp air,which nudges gently at the encasement,pushes through to me,unsettles the coat of dullnessthat has held me underfor months now.
StarbrightGood night, late spring.The sun's already sunkfar behind the hillwith the willow,the last of the lightfighting over the crest,eclipsed by the leaves'inkstampsilhouettes.I dream of rain.I wrapmy fingersaroundthe throatof the sky,ashen withtwilight,and it chokeson my phantomstormclouds.I dreamI have seenmy last sunand humthe world's requiembefore the night's first starawakens in the southwest,breaking the matte darkness,betraying my conceit.
Catgirl and Other DetailsAt four years old, I am a cat. I wear my ears day and night. They are perky and cardboard. Sometimes I also wear a tail and whiskers. But not today. I meow and walk on my knees. But not today. I don't understand purring yet.The teacher is an older, stout, frowny woman with cropped gray hair and lines around her mouth. She says garbazh because it makes her sound French (or so she jokes, perhaps, I cannot tell at this time) and once advised us to hold our scissors inward when we run with them, so as to stab ourselves instead of others in the event of a collision. She runs snack-time on a strict capitalist system the big kids always get there first, but You Get What You Get. It's her cross-armed singsong chant. Orange slices, hot dogs, dirt in a cup, nothing. You Get What You Get.I'm not a cat anymore today. The teacher told me that I have to be myself, and I'm not sure what that is, but I guess it's not a cat.
Stick Your Head In GravyI'm still cute with my hair pulled back in a frizzy halo, white wool and jeans and little sneakers. I climb up on top of the bookshelf to show off and feel deeply ashamed when someone figures me out. I decide not to talk for the rest of the day.I cried in the morning when they dropped me off, although I'm no longer sure why. When they take us to see the animals, I cling to my snotty tissue, trying to keep the tears running as long as I can stand. It's a struggle not to giggle and sacrifice self-pity when a sheep eats the nasty rag right out of my hands.The turkey is a formidable beast, its proud chest puffed and its ugly head jutting with dumb curiosity as it waddles my way. Don't Stick Your Finger In The Turkey Cage, Megan! The teacher reprimands my friend, and I know right away that I have to do it. I tentatively poke a tender finger toward the fat bird. It pecks, as is its nature, and I cry, as is mine.