to amy (sic) of ten years ago today.

Ten years ago, you had a difficult time with serving sizes. Back then, you hoarded cocaine and one-night love affairs. You collected envelopes of gashes. Ten years ago, you were being cyber-bullied by your memories. You changed your phone number and the shape of your skin in order to hide from your shadow. You feasted on potholes. You grew an enormous amount of debt as though this tab was like a garden you were watering. You lost feeling in the lower region of your body. Ten years ago, you shaved everything. Ten years ago, you fondled paralysis of your heart. You stopped trusting men. You fell. Do you remember that? You traveled with bar napkins against bloody chin because the weight of panic threw you down. Do you remember that you found new places to hide the slashes from the anger which only grew louder from all the drugs? Ten years ago, you got into a knife fight with the other half of you. You filled out only half the application for a restraining order against your vagina.      * Ten years ago today, you began planning for a future you were contemplating against. You applied to university in a state you never lived in, hoping for a re-do. You found words, which felt too kind, to describe your journey and intention to study. You got a phone call from a voice you did not recognize telling you that you were accepted to university. You decided it was time to get clean again. You threw bad habits into garbage and threw heavy bag of trauma into Brooklyn dumpster. You started writing more. You decided what could be left behind and what you wanted to remain with you. You cleaned out your phone of names, which haunted your ear drums. You decided to choose poetry as your drug; it was a lot cheaper and though it left you fiending for more, it was free. And did not leave you with nosebleeds and blackouts. You drove over two thousand miles. You still made some mistakes, but when you fell, there was a lot less blood. You got your degree. You learned how to collect months and then years of sobriety. You gave up collecting things. You still have a difficult time with serving sizes…..though now, it’s just coffee. And words.

Dear Deer

It is important to look up…had I not, I’d have missed you.

Oh, how close we were…close enough to count each eyelash or each committed chew of stolen leaf off tree. Each time you turned away from me, you slowly turned back just to make sure I was still noticing.

How could I not?

I am no longer counting steps; instead, I press unblinking eye against flow of creek or engage with flowers mindfully planted between cracks of concrete sidewalk.

Nothing has changed; I have changed.

I notice a man named Wolf sitting on a bench wearing sunburn and familiar grey beard. Many years ago, we spent hours in dark pub drinking stories and pints of beer. He sold jewelry to men and women in the mountains; he called me Poet or Red; gave me cigarettes.

Years later, he still recognizes me. “Long time,” he hums.

I smile, wondering how different I am or if I am or if he is.

The walk continues. Then, I stop and sit on a chair facing shadows. Beside me, the parking garage where I used to work. I start to cry, but no one notices…just like New York. Or, maybe the sun sees because suddenly I feel it pressing into my ribs.

Today is the day I find magic because today is the day a sage rubs echoes into my wrists.
Today is the day I unstitch my cuticles and pull out the traumas for the final time.
Today is the day I fall in love with my self. Propose marriage. Decide my belly may house a baby.
Today is the day I let go of the ghosts.

All that is left now is this photograph of a deer, some poems, hair I am ready to cut and pull out, these veins like skinny oceans in my body, this creature of breathtaking insight, music, language(s), a severed rubberband, a bench, a carve-out, an appetite, lungs, and this beauty.