Father’s Day 5 years after

I’d take you to the smaller towns

Flattened cobblestones with poor grip

You’d carry on regardless

Enjoy the river

Drink beer beneath a canope

Wear a hat

 

I built a life after you

Planted seeds

In unexpected places

And grew and grew

You’ll never know how proud you’d be

Or how short five years is

 

Maybe in another life

I find you where I least expect to

Maybe in another life

I don’t have to

Bloodlines

My sister would have been 29 today

 

I wander streets you’ve never heard of

Couldn’t place on a map

But you’d have gone here in a heartbeat

Given the chance

 

I remember your habits

Soft hair, and eyes like a lioness

Invulnerable

I wanted to be you

 

You left before we knew you’d gone

I’ve got a decade on you now, and more

It doesn’t matter

You’re still older than me

Borders

I hesitate when buying wine
Unable to remember what country I’m in
So what bank card I should be using
And I can’t find the SIM card
For the phone that I use Over There

(Which I’ve accidentally referred to as “Home”
Three times now.)

But I have been stretch stretch stretched
Across borders and oceans
From Scotland to the Mediterranean
To the Americas and further, further
South

And a man who I adore sounds exactly like home
And another I care for sounds nothing like it
And a third, a girl, with tight dark curls
Inherited from her Jewish babcia
Speaks to me a mix of Yiddish and New York slang

Belonging is an odd concept
I’ve always just drawn voices together
Different tongues, languages, dialects
My heart makes its home in all of them
The only way it knows how

Sugar

He asks why I am angry and I cannot respond.

There is heat in this carpet. I curl up in a patch of sunlight, begging for warmth.

I am so cold all the time.

-thanks for coming, it’s lovely to meet you

-thanks, you too

-this is Jordan’s girlfriend

-lovely, thanks for coming

-thanks for inviting me

I am in a room of strangers sitting in circles around white tables, skirts and alcohol and bits of food.

He holds my hand beneath the tablecloth. I catch his eye and smile because I know how to smile.

But I haven’t learned yet how to talk, how to be. How to exist and burst out of myself in a room full of strangers dressed in white.

In the bathroom other women smile at me and tell me how beautiful I look.

I have gotten good at being beautiful.

I am also good at remembering facts. Quotes from the plays and the books I have to read. Statistics. Voting systems. Franzosisch y l’allemange. Billions of words and sentences, different languages.

But before all that, nutrition. Vitamin B1, B12, calcium, selenium, whole proteins. Low carb, smart carb. 8 Glasses of water a day.

This is just a small body. There’s not room for much between my skin and my bone.

At the table there is cake. I eat the icing.

-don’t tell me you don’t like cake

-I just like the icing.

I tricked him, though I didn’t mean to. I painted a picture on myself of a warm woman full of passions and ideas and he fell in love with her. But I cannot explain to him why I am so angry and sad for no reason, or why I shiver all the time. Or why I’m doing so well in school and not much else. And how I don’t know how to talk to his family.

And now he starts to realise that I’m not a woman, not even a human at all.

We do not stay at the hotel.

The next day I take a train home and continue writing a script for a film I’m making.

He makes his excuses. I never see him again.