An Earthling Question

very close, very fast:
the feeling frightened me
before you even flew here.
though not foreign,
i hadn’t felt it for years—

like and unlike
the alaskan wilderness man,
but more like my inexplicable urge,
at eleven years old, to know a woman
who would never be my sister.

my imagination idolized
and demonized her
so doggedly i didn’t know
if i was a lesbian,
a lunatic,
or just
a loser.

while i’ve since learned
i’m largely heterosexual and
that wasn’t and this isn’t sexual,
it’s shameful nonetheless.

my depression demands i desire
a love i don’t deserve.

the emptiness and emotions inspire
an intense insecurity that comes
to a head right before i shed—

why am i writing you right now
when i know this is temporary?
the tension will relax and
the tears will relent
if i just wait.

but somehow now is forever,
and i’m convinced i’ll die alone.
i need a release—

i need you i need you to hear me.
i’m convinced my chest cavity is caving in
and you are the only hand to reach me
through the rubble.

and you indulge me:
my impulses and instincts
and irresponsibility,
despite my irrational insistence
that you ignore my existence.

i don’t know why.

and i don’t know why you,
but you’re not the first
and you won’t be the last.
every time is a warning sign:
a fine line between
control and collapse.



A Dad Is in the Details

your self-proclaimed expertise
in taylor swift song lyrics,
  and vernacular like
“awkward turtle”
  and “bestie”

make you my favorite
teenage girl—

(is it your profession or your love
   that demands these details of
      your daughters’ lives live on
         through your amusing and
                   ador(k)able letters?)



I Wonder If You Wonder

i wonder if you wonder
if she chose to live
up to your legacy,
or to her desires.

we emphasize our insecurities:

“all on her own”—
no pressure from you, but
you throw up your hand
in defense.

influence can be accidental.
and i wonder if you wonder
if your mere existence loomed
over her decisions.

i wonder if you wonder:

would she tell you if she wanted
something else?
would she tell you if your name
felt suffocating?

i wonder if you wonder.