66

I’ve watched house plants
both die and return home
time and time again.

What strength it is
to try again every Spring;
jostled back to life
by sheer nature alone
just when I was ready
to bury them.

Oh, the times I have found
myself so forgiving
the very course of how things
were meant to be
my branches flit away
a little lighter than before.

Unburdened by another’s opinion,
trusting in this process
to die and wither and believe
that I’ll spring back
when I’m ready.

 

As 2018 comes to an end, I hope all of you take the time to reflect on all your accomplishments, your hardships, your successes and your shortcomings with equal love and adoration for both the good and the bad that got you here. May your Resolutions be achievable, self-loving, and fulfilling.

Chúc mừng năm mới!

Love,
ELLE

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65

Holidays used to horrify
my sanity and sensibility.
The last minute scramble
to be cuffed to a decent man
of decent values to decently
satisfy my family’s questions.

To be presented at the
dinner table, served
as arm candy
dressed to impress.
With or without a man
I’m the appetizer, the entrée, the dessert
I’m not a plus one.

I am a worthy dinner guest
to any evening soiree.
I’m fine on my own, thank you
frankly, I’m wonderful company.

64

As a child, I
left notes to future me
strewn about, recalling
a version of myself
that left quietly in the night.

We used to make time capsules
and fill them with trinkets we swore
we’d want to remember someday.

Funny how that changes
from reminding you of your
most prized possession
to even just the smell
of dew at the public park
you fell in love at
nearly a decade ago.

My hands, reaching out
passenger side window
I wish I could’ve bottled
the dew on my hands
and kept that freedom
in a jar
to remind me of even
the smallest of memories.

63

IMG_0833

Sagittarius in the stars
etched in my arm
a symbol of honesty, integrity, resilience
I’ve often attributed to my successes.
My mother always told me that
I was luck itself since birth
and everyday since.

Car rides would never catch
red lights
events would align just right
if only I was there for it.

Like the shimmer at the top
of our Christmas tree
I yearned to glow as bright
as the expectations I was
born into.

The archer, the achiever
if the ground ever felt too hard
and the days passing seemed just
far from grasp
anchor yourself in the stars that
predisposed your path
all those years ago
and what is still to come.

61

first snowfall:
dust flittering, quietly
off an unattended shelf
books from my childhood

you have no idea
how little I knew
before I knew you.
lighthouse, alight home
your pillow is always the softest.

loving you is like walking in the door, warm
the snow soaks into my clothes
turning to water and
rinsing me clean
you’ve always felt like
the sky itself, nestled
in my veins

never quite the gambling man,
you said you never believed in luck
until you saw my chances
and cast a bet anyway.

60

I once had this beautiful silk dress
dotted with oil stains
I couldn’t get out.
I’d wring my knuckles raw
trying to scrape this pattern
from a spot only I could see.

I would question everyone:
“Do you see a difference?”
“Can you tell?”
I could feel it on me
like bullet holes in my shoulder blade
lodged into my skin
and yet I only quantified myself
if someone else noticed, too.

an impurity
a part of me
that ached from the inside
at a time I used to count calories
and revel in my whittling
8, 6, 4, 2, 0
I embarked to be even more invisible than
those defects I desperately wanted someone
to notice

I wonder if that girl with the silk dress
understands why I gave it up
and why it was that
she so desperately tried to
erase an imperfection that wasn’t really there.
I certainly don’t fit in those
clothes of a time long past
and I may never get to 0 again
but at least
my knuckles are soft again.