My name is Claire and I love everybody which is sometimes dangerous but mostly it makes my life beautiful.
I couldn’t touch you without ruining you,
so I didn’t touch you at all.
It’s when you’re on the brink of something
that you lose your balance.
You told me that once.
When I can’t bring myself to say what I need to,
my heart plays Russian Roulette with my throat.
I swear I fired that night, but, nothing.
Someday, I’ll show you the bullet I had for you,
after time has done the wash.
I’ll take it out of the jar of missed opportunities.
We’ll hold it up to the light.
You’ll roll it around your mouth like a fallen tooth.
You won’t forgive me exactly,
but we’ll laugh about how small it is.
We’ll wonder how such a little thing
could ever have meant so much.
five sets of two hands, fingers spread wide
my best friend lying next to me squeaks out
“never have I ever masturbated”
a chortle and a shrug between the boys as they flick down their obligatory fingers
and I can’t help but feel a twinge in my stomach as my pinky follows suit
the silence in the room is thick and grey and suddenly sliced by
have you ever experienced fun?
I pull away a hair caught in my scarlet lipstick
in my reflection I see my table mate from english class
behind me she blinks twice and scoffs
“who are you trying to impress?”
the bathroom door is closed behind her before I can ask
the last time she did something to impress herself.
before a trip to the mall
one of my friends spends two hours
perfecting her bronzer
and choosing the perfect pair of shoes
the other rubs in dry shampoo
and is out the door in less than five minutes
they are two of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen.
my father calls me beautiful through a mouthful of popcorn
as I pour a glass of milk to accompany my now third piece of leftover birthday cake
he plants a kiss on my cheek and I grin as I wipe it away.
she asks me what to do to start loving herself
and I send her away to my full length mirror
and demand to only speak to her
when she’s found something to adore
the way I did with my knobby knees
and tiger-striped hips
and big square teeth
fifteen minutes go by
and she finally points to the freckles on her nose
splits into a grin
the one that makes everyone weak in the knees
and I watch the lightbulb go off above her head
as she realizes
it’s never been her job to hate her body
i tell my sister she looks cute today
and the look on her boyfriend’s face
when she blurts out “damn right I do!”
I used to worry that I’d never find someone who loved me at all
and now my biggest fear
is finding someone who can adore me as much as I’ve come to.
The head of a company survived 9/11 because
His son started kindergarten.
Another fellow was alive because it was
His turn to bring donuts.
One woman was late because her
Alarm clock didn’t go off in time.
One was late because of being stuck on the NJ Turnpike
Because of an auto accident.
One of them
Missed his bus.
One spilled food on her clothes and had to take
Time to change.
Car wouldn’t start.
Get a taxi.
The one that struck me was the man
Who put on a new pair of shoes that morning,
Took the various means to get to work but before.
He got there, he developed a blister on his foot.
He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid.
That is why he is alive today..
Now when I am
Stuck in traffic,
Miss an elevator,
Turn back to answer a ringing telephone…
All the little things that annoy me,
I think to myself,
This is exactly where
I’m meant to be
At this very moment