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.