137

second place, silver trophy
a medal for doing well, but
not well enough
funny how validation weighs like
a chunk of metal around your neck
funny how time passes
seconds, ticking by
something just barely out of reach

136

some nights I dream up worlds
that are so close to the one I live
I’m not always sure which one
of us is awake

my life has encountered endless open doors
and ones I’ve closed by choice
if there is some almighty power
bigger than any of us
I hope each variation of myself
is living her variation of a dream

I wonder if she’s happy
I wonder if I am

132

we’re feeling closer than ever before
greeting hellos in distant passing
an acknowledgement of an external fight
we’re fighting inside

there’s no blood on the streets
and the lights illuminate every window
we’re living a history book, real time
we talk so much about nothing at all
we ask about each other’s day
and mean it

124

disguised as an exercise in growth,
I reinvent myself to please others

I’m not meant to be some
beautiful, constant metamorphosis, but
the slow burn of a candle
becoming something gradually and
enjoying the way the flame flickers

I’m changing; if not overnight, then
over my lifetime
and if that’s not something to applaud
I’m not sure what is.

123

shaken like a snow globe
my world encapsulated with my favourite things
and my sense of worth, locked within it
there to please, mantlepiece

a sight for sore eyes
I’ve staged perfect photos in perfect scenarios
painting worlds of envy
earning validation like a coin purse

I’ve written universes
constellations of stars
connecting the stories I’ve lived
shouldn’t that be enough for me?

lately I’m singing songs no one hears
and writing poems because I want to, declaring
any path I choose is mine to lead
I am everything I was meant to be

121

sometimes when I’m not paying attention, I
am brought to a moment, passed
when my legs ran against beach sand
racing towards waves, relentless

a memory just barely out of grasp
of being young and being free
from obligation, rising rent prices
career leaps and bounds

I’m getting farther and farther from the shoreline
I’m lost in something
more sad than nostalgia —
forgetting

120

there’s frost on the windows
melting solid on the sill
a transparent canvas to draw on

I find you in the kitchen
coffee stained sweater sleeves
I spy footprints when the sun hits
the hardwood floor just right;
yesterday’s fancy footwork
in the oven’s blinking light
always reminded of time passing, yet
dancing to it anyway

it’s 8:55am and I’m running out the door
another day at the office
I kiss you like I did last year
and every day since
just like ordinary