Whether or Not You Fly

When I grow up I wanna be Brandi Carlile

I wanna sing to tear the roofs off houses

and serve you up your own heart on a plate.

When I grow up, I just wanna feel at home

in this boygirl body, at home on 10,000

foot mountains, at home

in my own bed. I wanna navigate

rush-hour traffic with regular breath,

get along
with my family,

make love
with my eyes wide open

and call down the rain when I come. When I grow up

I wanna jump off every waterfall

without ever having to flinch.


I love you even if you can’t jump

even if you stand at the top of the cliff shaking

wishing for your mom
even though she was so cruel. I love you

in those moments when you can’t speak

move, sing, jerk off, or smile. Those moments

when you need to be small again –

small and held, not small and brave.

I love you in those moments when you compare

your hair to every other girl, your muscles

to every other boy, when you look

around the room and find yourself deficient

because that is what you were trained to find.

I love you with sand in your underwear

after a wave knocks you out, I love you trying

to pee when no one’s looking, I love you

unwitnessed hungry, lonely, and done. I witness you.


I witness you talking to that beat up 11 year old girl

inside your own chest, the one who can’t believe

someone’s finally listening to her. I witness you bring her glitter,

ice cream, and daisy chains, I witness you describing

the perfect getaway that never happened

how all your friends would come bust her out of the house & fly

through the sky in a blue car like Harry Potter

and land somewhere safe.


Later, I witness you hiking alone

12 miles up and down ridges in the rain

and the sun, anchoring your heels into earth

your lungs to the sky, becoming part

of the widest expanse of ocean you have ever seen.

I witness you hitching the last ride down the mountain

to the last plate of fried chicken

in the last town at the edge

of the colonized world. I watch you wake up the next day

pray to the sunrise

press flowers in a book

for your girl back home. I witness you navigating

potholes, dehydration, Easter Sunday, and unrelenting wind.

I witness you wanting a family so bad you could taste it.

I witness you hoping

this girl is the one. Hoping one day
you get to plant

the blueberry bushes
you’re both keeping in pots

cause you’re waiting for them to root in the ground

together. I witness you calculating
budgets, debating careers,

trying to paint, love, fuck
and make poems

despite all the anxiety
of hustling a life under capitalism.


You are doing such a good job.

You are making it, you adult, you dreamer, you kid.


I see you when you count to three

and leap in the sky shrieking

only to find when you land

the water is actually deep enough to hold you.


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