Hello from gorgeous Salzburg! This is a city of endless song & bountiful negative space. Also: very pleasing colour schemes. Period architecture. Cobblestones. Gastronomy. & etc., etc., etc. There’s more, of course, so many brilliant somethings I’m too tired or too young now to put a name to, but they are magnificent & lingering on my tongue & rewriting all my poems & all my knowings & what more, really, could I ever ask for. It’s only the second stop on my Europe tour & I already never want to leave this continent.
But first, a quick crackling little poem for you today, in between my various haltings & wanderings! This one travels far away from Salzburg, back to my childhood in chap-lipped suburbia: a piece about apples & moving surfaces, about knives & crawlspaces, about gods, girlhood, growing up. All these stories we tell ourselves that bring us back to life. It was originally published in Occulum (one of my favourite new literary journals today!) & I so hope you enjoy it. xoxo
in the first life / it starts with overripe apples, cloying as sin // a sweet & gorgeous melting / eyes closed / hysterical laughter like radio static / sweetness scarring the back of my throat // my mother braids my hair in the morning before school / & gives me the tools to survive: / this is how you boil water / this is how you give someone the finger / these are the only two things you will ever need to know // as a child i recall my stomach must die before all else / this is the simplest story / & therefore the truest / a slice of unfinished apple pie on the table / a plastic fork / a metal knife // my mother drives me home & asks, her voice a landscape marred by sorrow, / what i learned in school today / her grief is the first soft thing i will ever touch // we exist in so many places that never bother to learn our names / but this house has a new nickname for me every day / a new beginning to my obituary / a new taste of suburbia to choke down / & kindness without ulterior motive // on the table, the apple pie aches to taste a tongue // my mother & i stand on the driveway, becoming // even now, in this framed beginning, / i am not a god / but i am a girl, at least // a girl / a time to exhale / a preplanned ghost town / a pot of boiling water // i turn down the radio / i fall asleep with cinnamon stuck in my mouth // in this place where my mother has forgotten how to cry / & it smells of evening / all afternoon