By Michelle Lin
"What I wanted: it was to rise up." –Alison Stine
I couldn’t sing grown. I couldn’t sing
winter. I was only dull with rain. Years ago,
I killed a lonely man, and after that, it was
still hard to say I didn’t want him. I wanted
the sureness of stones. No, I didn’t want
him. Nobody sat at that table and I didn’t want
to breathe. Sometimes I didn’t even want
to sing. As thin as water. And still,
I lived. The sky folded bright side down,
my hands sewed themselves back to
me. When I left, he took
nothing. Like many, I hid
in the womb. I braced myself
from emerging. Anyone can climb
down that ladder. The pull of me, twisting.
I left, or she left, or he
is leaving now. Gasping screen door. This
is the floor. This is the ceiling.
Walls hold hands and basements
comb dust. No one grew up and no one
died. He once gave me life
but not a name to wrap myself in.
What he gave me, what I didn’t want.
It was hard to say.
After Alison Stine's "Tennessee"