Sand

I arrive at the 
front door of a house
that holds
the dynamics
of family 
as pervasive
and as deep
as a bloodline. 

At the doorstep I
witness the
lines of 
victim-hood
blended with
the incessant
need to be right.

In the doorway
I take a breath
in anticipation.

I notice the sand
that's been carried in on
the feet of
my beloved
family members.

I don't want to feel
the sand
on the bottoms of my own
or on the seat of my chair
or the floor of the shower.

I wonder
about the
rifts 20 years
in the making 
and what they've
done to the floors
of this home.

They seem as
ubiquitous
and invisible
until felt
as the sand that
found its way
into the
fabrics
of this family.

The floors take the brunt of it
scratched and rubbed down
until layers of coating
are exposed raw
until the foundation of this
home cannot
hold the weight
of what we bring to it.

At the doorway
I look inside.
I see my mom and
her sister sitting
at the kitchen table.

I wonder what it is
I do not know
about the sand
between their own toes
particles they may not even
feel anymore
since its become
ingrained
into the way things are.

I don't want to feel
the sand
on the bottoms of my feet
or on the seat of my chair
or the floor of the shower.

Sand belongs on the
shoreline
where the ocean can
do with it
as she pleases.

Here, the sand
clogs and scratches
it irritates and hollows.

I take another breath
remove my shoes.
I wash my feet of the
abrasive
and the stubborn.

I take care not to step
in the sand
my family
carries in.

pour me out

I lose 10 pounds
cup size B sprouts.
My butt is flat compared to Rachael’s.
 
“You like Alec, don’t you?”
 
I soon learn
to confuse kindness
with flirting
and flirting
with withholding.
 
“You’re a tease.”
 
I’m 13.
I do not understand what
teasing means.
I was taught to smile
and be nice
when I don’t want to be.
 
The equation
no longer added up.
 
Hours drained on empty boys.
Touches and grabs and expectations.
I plucked and I shaved and waxed
I burned the skin on my upper lip.
 
To what purpose
to interest boys who used me
to fill their own bodies and minds.
They drained me as I topped them off.
 
I was
caught tangled
with men between my legs
filling me with
shame,
dichotomy of the feminine
the conservative.
 
My body
both me
and not me.
 
My breasts grew from birth control
boys looked at me 
as curves became their canvas
to judge.
 
At 12 blood ran
from my underwear
The aches from my empty womb
 
“You hooked up with Christian?”
 
I am 12.
I do not understand what
hooking up means.
 
The male gaze
framed me as lovely
until
my voice exposed
what was inside.
 
I remember
becoming more than a body.
 
“You care more about your career
than our future.”
 
At 26 I felt poured out
until I was dry
I had to replenish myself
I’ve learned to love my own taste.
 
I recognize the power of
kindness
intentional use of charm
of beauty
I have a choice in the version
I show of me.
 
At 27 my blood
holy water – filling
Life.