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.

Rising

Eye contact
the intimacy involved
in a gaze
that does not look away
even when my own
breaks
from the vulnerability of it.

Falling for him isn't
falling at all.
It's a form of rising
into something
greater than myself.

Rising into
a choice
of selecting
healthy thoughts
to believe
over maladaptive
pervasive
patterns of painful ones.

My body opens for him
and not simply to please
but to be pleasured in return.

He told me in some ways
it feels like I'm
a part of him.

He is steady
secure
he is calming.

I like the idea
of my own self
being a part
of him.
And he of my own.

Falling for him
isn't falling at all.
I don't feel a need
to be caught.
I feel the impulse
to rise.

Changing tides

I see the water meet the sky’s edge 
I expand, here.
I take in what's changed
what's remained.

I remember the moments 
I came to her shore 
seeking something other 
than what was,
seeking answers. 

Today
I come to her 
with a new request. 

Her waves sing 
and I ask for witness
as I recognize 
my own growth. 

I seek her
expanding memory 
so that when I forget
she’ll remind me
 
that tides change 
and so do I. 

Comparison

Sometimes I
look at my poetry and
see a lack of seriousness,
of trauma.

I hear exceptional writers
describe the oppression
the discrimination
the injustice
the world
provides.

I wonder if my own
experiences
my own hurt
the self-made kind
the mental spirals
my self-reflections,
are as universal
or as worthy
to be shared.

And maybe the comparison
is where the actual fallacy lives.

Is it wrong to take space
in arenas where there are no
rules or
standards
for how much pain a piece
must contain?

What I choose to explore
through writing
is most often
the ways in which
I interact
with intimacy
and the ways in which
I do not.

So maybe
I'll give myself permission
to write
without judgement.
To share without
comparison.

She calls me tresora

I help care for my Nanna. 
My father and uncle hold her
as my mother and I clean her.
 
She sits and cries,
 
“You should not see this, Marisa.”
 
“I’m happy to be here Nanna. I need to be.”
 
“I want to kiss you.”
 
I lean in, place
my forehead against her lips.
We sit like this for a moment.
 
The quiet is treasure,
just as she’s called me her’s
all my life.
And just like that,
the moment flees.
 
The chaos begins again.
Love in its many forms.
Suffering, too.