“last week i told my mother that there are more kinds of beetles on earth than anything else, and she said that there are only more that we know of; that they are all we know with names.
“in the fading light of summer,
when the blackberry stains turn to bruises on your lips,
on the first day that you walk faster
when you see a familiar face in the crowd,
when your heart racing in your chest
begins to hammer out the beat to that song that makes you sick,
and all the slivers of your reflection
that you find scattered in the silver glass of the rain on the street
start to seem like puzzle pieces that form a picture of a stranger
with eyes too much like your mother’s,
in the dying light of summer,
in the old, retreating light of summer,
on the first day that you pray more fervently
because you are sure that god does not exist,
i know that you will be reborn.
may you grow fierce and holy through the pavement,
in the world that has created you,
that may yet be created by your will,
may your roots grow strong in your foundations,
and your leaves and all your flowers,
for all to see, grow swiftly, and grow stronger still.
turn skyward, little flower,
and cry out when no one sees you there.
you must know:
you will be unbent, unbroken, unscarred, unsullied, unscorned,
unafraid, unabused, unlimited, and uninhibited:
you will be all that beauty is.
beyond any speech and any sonnet,
words will fail you, but you must say them anyway:
beg the rains come and wash us clean,
call the sun come and shine us new,
sing our anger out on every new tide,
and spell out our hopes among the sparkling stars.
in that last, pale light of summer,
may your words build us a new world without fear;
may our eyes be only ever looking upward,
or on each other,
and never again with anything but infinite love.
on the day the world ends,
may it be with neither a bang, nor with a whimper:
let it be with a sigh.
(and we will all say: amen.)
things to do when you’re alone:
• listen to other people’s words, but don’t really hear them. hear them only if they come with music. mostly hear the music. hear it loudest the second you turn it off. let the silence win. try not to fill it with the memory of things you said a year ago. try not to think about how you can’t quite remember what her voice sounds like anymore. let the silence win.
• bite your nails down to the quick, but don’t let up even if you bleed. care more about the mess you’ve made of your black nail polish than the one you’ve made of your skin. file down the rough edges of the mess you’ve made. bite your nails again ten minutes later, and make them jagged again. don’t let up even if you bleed. try to convince yourself that your fingers are too torn up to type with. try to convince yourself not to text her anyway. don’t let up even if you bleed.
• lay awake and stare at your ceiling, but don’t think about how long it’s been the same. trace the sponge-paint clouds with your eyes like you’ve never seen them before. pretend you’re somewhere else. pretend there’s something else above you. try not to imagine her laying next to you. try not to remember her laying next to you. pretend you’re somewhere else.
• turn the pages of her favourite book, but don’t read the words. close your eyes if you have to. resist the urge to tear out pages. know it won’t rewrite your story if you cross out part of this one. try not to imagine her reading aloud. try not to think about how you can’t quite remember what her voice sounds like anymore. close your eyes if you have to.
• fold every shirt you own twice, but don’t put them away. spend twice as long unfolding them again. never get it right. throw your shirts on your floor. don’t pick them up. try not to imagine that jacket she used to wear mixed into the heap. try to forget the way it felt when you fell asleep with it wrapped around you. never get it right.
• drink the champagne without her, but don’t open the bottle yet. stop saving it for a special occasion. stop believing that you’re the kind of person who gets special occasions. tell yourself you’ll open it tomorrow. tell yourself you won’t wait longer. try to convince yourself that you won’t wait ten years if that’s how long it takes her. try to convince yourself you’re more of an alcoholic than you are still in love with her. tell yourself you won’t wait longer.
• take pills to make yourself sleep, but don’t stay in bed. keep your eyes open. watch the walls bend. listen to them hum. drown out your memories. black out before 10pm. try not to imagine her laying next to you. try not to think about how you can’t quite remember what her voice sounds like anymore, but you can’t forget the way her hands felt like on your skin. black out before 10pm.
• (dream about her anyway.)”