Friday, April 17, 2015

a poem by christina drill

Life Tryouts!

At first you cry
to get it out,
the starch.
You get the wanting out.
You shake it.
You sacudir the pillow case
strands of your hair belay, lit up
by sunlight.
This is your hair.
You watch them belly out.

You breathe. It smells of pine
and something rough.
You could make it out.
You could make a cake,
or sing.
You could hum the laws you made yourself
By yourself and for yourself,
family tales woven
out of facts your mother whistled.
You could use them all if you
wanted, remove some, take it,
make yourself.
Kingston, Havana, Newark.
A horse field,
a goat. An apartment
in Union City.
Another husband.

You watch PBS,
you always have.
You read heavy,
you always have.
Your lips are soft
like wealthy tubs,
not cracked dirt things
your mother would beg
you to deal with.
Not your vision, but
you can see them.
You’re growing up.
You’re growing up, but still.

Instead of anything you’d rather
walk with your ears plugged,
by other experiences.
You are always thinking
about purple and sage.
These epic feelings Hemingway
said were stupid,
the ones bad writing comes from,
they make you feel stupid.
The rushes.
What you stave off as you walk.
What coffee does: a word
you always liked,
a hunch you always had.
Ten people whose souls you knew
so well, believe you still must.

You want to share, to covet.
Like a girl in school
you sometimes imagine happiness
as one thousand men
who think about you without an understanding
of your doom.
In college you decided you hate Sylvia Plath,
but who are you.
These epic feelings Hemingway
said were stupid.
Like a girl in school,
you take them seriously.

There is only, and there is other.
You want everything, but stuff sticks out.
You want to become fashionable.
You want to forget the him.
You almost have, you almost never had to,
but now you have this pride.
You always want not to need it
but you walk in circles at the end
of every week
seeking it again. You wonder
why the laws don’t settle.
Why not fold the pinafore.
To love someone after all this.
Ridiculous. But you did.
What girl to woman wouldn’t.

There is something graceful
in always loving. When you walk
you feel it. In persecuting softness,
but then forgiving.
You are a system wired to do this.
The system didn’t tell you that,
your heart did. It is what started
the system.

There is him, and there is tomorrow.
There is loving, and there is self-love.
Loving is in your bed,
forgiving you below a sheet.
Or maybe self-love is.
You don’t care. The sky comes back
every single morning.
You’d rather die without it.

If life is dry heat, sugar pounding
in the kitchen being made
into something, then at least
in springtime, flowers bloom.
You do it to yourself,
but you do it, too.

Christina Drill is the author of NEW BOWS (Five/Quarterly 2014). Her poetry has been published in Word Riot, Glitter Mob, CheapPop, and Dogzplot, among others. She is program coordinator at Girls Write Now and lives in Brooklyn. More at

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