when i first came here, the people seemed to have been drugged by the clouds in the sky. their eyes were heavy with weariness and their faces were pale and wrinkly, almost like rice paper.
i watched them from a distance and assured myself that my solar powered, cheerful attitude was a fixed trait of mine. it would endure the absence of sunshine, the crisp air of rain, and the yearning of family and friends who were miles away.
five months ago, my eyes would have drank the ‘harsh’ sunlight the same way that shorelines drink ocean water. five months have passed, and my eyes have begun to cringe at seattle’s filtered sunlight.
i now too, look like rice paper. my sandy skin has hardened to a white clay that i’m not sure i can mold anymore. five months ago, i shaped sandcastles that resembled the palace i called ‘julie’. it could be anything i wanted it to be: a sea turtle, a mayan pyramid, a quetzal, an angel wing, a siberian tiger.
five months later, the sandcastle is only a pile of wet sand.
the hairdresser combs through my hair with long fingers,
diagnosing hair as dry as uncooked, squid ink pasta. so, what would you like me to do today?
at my suggestion, the doctor blocks my reflection in the mirror
and tugs at her hair, smooth like arctic waters–
your hair is different than mine.
she mutters in a language i don’t understand, and says: my hair is good for bobs, straight. your hair too curly. not good.
curly, wavy hair mimics water ripples and
brings breath to a still ocean
that the world covets with prayer because
stillness is peace, calm, manageable–
but fuck that bullshit.
peace is also life, life is breath–
with curly, wavy ripples crowning our heads
we are the ocean’s messengers
bringing the world breath.
the scent of manure drifts in and out of
this rural consciousness
where evergreen boxed tractors trudge down
the open fields of worn pavement that
crickets lullaby. their late night ballad is
muted by spellbinding thunderstorms,
whose layover is right outside these scattered,
white, dingy two-story homes and
sometimes these heavy storms gurgle
inside our bellies or whirl the contractions in our heads–
sometimes it’s too hard to tell.
while standing on the edge of a mountain,
its stone paths as flat as the moon’s,
i look down and search for something
marvelous. of course, the mountain itself
is marvelous and so are the trees
that hug its base and the winds
that whisper song lyrics to the birds,
birds that are marvelous.
still searching and anticipating
serendipity, there is silence.
i try to drink these images, but instead
they replay a montage with the same image in different
shades of sepia—and then i remember that i can’t
refill a cup that’s already full.
white teenagers cruise by unlocked bicycles
and glowing vintage street lamps, swerving their
cars in circles on the empty intersection at night. the
faster they spin the louder their shrieks echo,
competing with the sound of crickets who
are also chirping for a thrill on broad street.