One true thing

A thing

grew inside me once.

This was during a time I can’t return to.

Not that I want to return

except on days I do want to

in order to observe the thing growing

with a wholeness I grew inside me in the time

since.

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123 days

There are 123 days left until 40.

1 – 2 – 3

and like that I will be

Over the Hill.

Which hill?

The hill there

footsteps away?

The Tel?

Tell me.

Tel Hannaton through fence, by Jen Maidenberg

Tel Hannaton through fence, by Jen Maidenberg

It’s a curious time.

This tick tocking of clock

measured quietly

uncertain

alone

without labels I’ve grown accustomed to

a “Jean Val Jean” moment in time, says my husband.

“Who am I?”

1-2-3 and I will be 40.

Over the Hill.

Not Under it.

A blessing

Not dead becomes a blessing when

1-2-3

one is 40.

Remember when dead was unimaginable, unthinkable?

When youth was a fortress of solitude with its fangs sunk into the taut skin of our necks?

Sure, there was always AIDS hanging over our upper middle class halos.

And a little bit of cancer.

But now there is cancer

of everything.

It ate away at the fangs of youth — replaced them

Sunk into Breast. Stomach. Skin.

Now, there is the echo of anomaly

Brain. Lung. Ovary.

“What’s that?”

A tag. A growth. A lump.

1-2-3 and you become

Much too aware.

Too much care taken in the shower

soaping up lathering up the sides of once-breasts

Too much care taken in the reflection

smoothing sprouting silver down

Too much care taken in front of a lens

facing right, facing left, facing the side with less shadows.

Filter me.

1 – 2 -3 until 40.

Over Under but what about

On the Other Side

Kibbutz House by Jen Maidenberg

Kibbutz House by Jen Maidenberg

I hold out hope

that walking through the door of 40

is like opening the front door of the Gale farm

after a wicked storm.

1-2-3

technicolor works its magic

and life becomes more richly lived

in never before seen hues of

yellow green and blue.

* * *

 

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Why does my story matter?

This is my question today.

And usually every Wednesday.

Or Tuesday.

Depends.

Why does my story matter?

Okay, so I can weave words in a way sometimes

that makes you almost cry

that makes you remember the time you had blintzes in that cafe on 2nd Avenue

that makes you look frantically in the closet for the sundress you know you didn’t sell at Buffalo Exchange — you know it, you just know it, but where IS it — for a pair of people earrings that looked like the ones you got at Accessory Place with babysitting money

that makes you comb the recesses of your mind for the smell of your grandmother’s perfume

that makes you wish you didn’t throw away your walkman

or your diary from 5th grade the one with the pink plastic cover that you got for free with a magazine subscription that said

“I got my period today.”

Sometimes I do that to you.

I make you remember.

Is that enough to make my story matter?

Sometimes I write what comes to me and what comes to you is like what comes to me

and it makes you miss someone

or kiss someone

or call someone

or, better yet, write them a letter

or draw them a picture or make them a mixed tape.

Or send them back the mixed tape they made for you once.

Or twelve of them.

Does that make my story matter?

Sometimes

on Wednesdays

or Tuesdays

Depends —

I wonder why I write.

I wonder my story matters.

I wonder why it can’t just live inside me

just inside me

just there

for me.

What must I tell you?

Why must I make sense of it?

Why must I

make it beautiful

or agonizing

or wonderous?

Why must I?

 

 

Pretty lies

If I could play piano as deftly as I do in my dreams

If I could sing and you could hear the rich tones I do when my voice echoes in my ear

If I could put down words, the true ones that bubble up and swell in my heart

This is what I would bring forth into the world.

Something like this:

But I only tap, tap, tap a little Heart & Soul

I only whisper my skirmish with harmony

I reveal the yellows, the pinks, the browns of my soul only.

Not so much of the blues.

Or the blacks.

Pretty lies. Only pretty lies.