September 21, 2003
1. In 1981 I was an eskimo & Wile E Coyote.
2. A punkin’ who stood proud & naked
3. In a forty-six inch plastic pool.
4. Five years later I was eight years old.
5. And losing a mother.
6. I have a beautiful, beautiful story to tell.
7. Laced with miracles, messes, promises, prophecy &
8. The type of healing acquired by faith.
9. I am the daughter of a believer.
10. Of a Pentecostal preacher.
11. Who found salvation while holding
12. a .357 Magnum to his head
13. while my brother & I slept.
14. Years later, that same man picked up a crow bar
15. pried steel, tugged & fought & fought
16. because my body was inside a blue neon, broken
17. and I just wanted him to hold my hand.
18. There are pieces of my life I won’t let myself remember.
19. And if, by chance, I submit to memory
20. Late at night, when my mind races
21. One pale blue toilet bowl keeps me company
22. While it holds my insides
23. & i cry at it’s feet.
24. The core of me is filled with guilt & regret.
25. Because, although I am quick to forgive others
26. I rarely ever forgive myself.
27. Instead, I replay scenarios in my head.
28. Constantly wondering, ‘would this have turned out differently if i had only…’
29. I have trouble accepting that things are how they are.
30. That my experience can’t be altered.
31. I have trouble letting go.
32. Giving up.
33. Giving in.
34. I have always been the underdog.
35. And a fighter.
36. Tonight I jumped guardrails, faced traffic
37. to take black & white photographs
38. of road signs that mean something to me.
39. I’m afraid that one day, everything I love will be gone.
40. So I document this life
41. as best as I can
42. with pictures & words & color
43. because twenty years from now I may not have the boy
44. But I will have a photograph of the field
45. we walked through, holding hands
46. after discarding our clothes in the barn
47. and propositioning each other in Irish accents
48. the night I lost my virginity.
49. Twenty years from now I may not remember
50. how good it was to be twenty-five
51. drunk with my best friend
52. in Wal-Mart buying duct tape & plastic
53. because we smashed a convertible window
54. and need to cover it at 3:00 in the morning
55. before rain sets in.
56. Or how hard it is to be twenty-five
57. And watching everyone around me give birth
58. heat oatmeal, raise families, while i
59. struggle with the concept of love and wonder
60. what went wrong
61. what happened
62. is it foolish to believe
63. in an ee type of love
64. in my grandparent’s type of love
65. in a type of love where
66. sixty-three years isn’t long enough
67. to love one man.
68. I admit I don’t know anything.
69. That I watched a boy I loved
70. devour his dreams, develop tics, give his everything away.
71. I watched his skin slowly fade
72. And thought that my love might be enough.
73. I wanted to save him.
74. I wanted to heal his little boy traumas.
75. I wanted to heal his memory of fists & blood & never being good enough.
76. I wanted the little battered girl inside of me to mend him.
77. I wanted to mend myself.
78. And he just wanted to forget.
79. I once thought that I would live my entire life bearing the weight of other’s sorrows.
80. That if I listened long enough, loved hard enough, took it all inside,
81. I might remedy some wrongs.
82. So I counted cuts on 17 year old wrists, 36 to be exact.
83. Bandaged burns, applied ointment.
84. Listened to stories of self-mutilation.
85. Gave hugs. Rides. Cried.
86. Called social services.
87. Took faces into my hands.
88. Listened while she held a gun
89. on the other end of the phone line.
90. Said I see you.
91. Said I love you.
92. Over & over.
93. Meant every word of it.
94. Because twenty years from now when I’m listening to your story
95. or telling mine in third person
96. I don’t want to question if I could have done more,
97. said more, been more
98. I want to be the woman who survived
99. all the moments of impact
100. and kept on loving with a love
101. acquired by faith.