I’ve been

babying an injured knee; healing said knee when I stopped being so precious and scared to step down too hard on the stairs and picked the barbell back up; practicing my scales; practicing my sight reading; practicing my chord progressions; skipping piano practice on evenings when I want to crawl inside my tiredness and stay there past the next morning’s alarm; declaring the colt in Ada Limón’s poem dead; slicking down my hair into the same bun with extra time for the piece in the front that always refuses to corporate with water, mousse, *and* gel; feeling small; trying to remember that I am not;

folding days’ old laundry; folding laundry while it’s still hot from the dryer; leaving laundry unfolded until the dirty pile grows much higher than the clean one again; folding further into my self; breaking my glasses; stretching out my old pair for as long as I can see; loving and wanting to be loved by you/x/?; growing a rose plant in water; drinking wine that tastes like juice; drinking tea that tastes like juice; calling my self pathetic; avoiding eye contact in the mirror when I do; crying in virtual therapy; crying on Mass Ave; crying on the 86 bus; crying in the work bathroom; trying not to;

dividing up money for different purposes until the next monthly pay day; finding out how long a month is when the biggest bills are due at the beginning; wanting to be wanted by you/x/?; wanting to be free; wanting to be held; wanting more; feeling shame that I do; telling you/x/? anyway; laughing from my belly; waking up in the dark; making the bus on time because of waking up in the dark; returning home at golden hour; reading lots; not writing as much as I want; practicing being a reliable daughter-cousin-sister-friend; practicing vulnerability; practicing grace for self and for others, including those I cannot stand (which often includes “I”);

remembering “desire is never the mistake;” falling asleep in tears; waking up to more of the same; buying more masks; adjusting my mask so it doesn’t get tangled in my earrings or hurt the skin behind my ears; hiding my real facial expressions behind my mask; giving away masks; going to hear music; going to cafés; going out for drinks; going to see art until it almost feels like before-before though it will never do; holding the spirits of others like they are as-yet-unhatched eggs; throwing my own spirit into the unforgiving void of ego and insecurity; daring to hope that Ada Limón’s colt might still be living after all; listening to Deesha Philyaw and Kiese Laymon while I work; listening to Masego while I work; listening to When We Were Birds while I work [still!]; waiting for long-lasting warm weather; waiting for the water to boil; waiting for when I can quit; waiting in general and acting like I’m not, like I’m present, like I’m content, like my soul is not bowing down; bearing witness; paying attention;

despairing; trying not to

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