her dad wakes her up
three times every morning,
with a little sigh as she rushes out the door.
while she sleeps, he makes her lunch
and leaves little notes tucked inside.
he toasts the bread on her sandwiches,
because he knows she won’t eat them otherwise.
and he leaves the crust on, even though she picks it off,
because one time she told him it was therapeutic.
so she can’t help but smile when she opens her lunchbox,
because the little effort is just so him.
the coffee is hot with a hint of cinnamon,
and the kettle screams it’s ready for tea;
because one day it’s this, and the other it’s that,
and he never knows until she tells him.
but next year it will be an alarm clock
that prods her from the sheets,
and there won’t be notes on her napkins;
the bread won’t be toasted, she won’t see his face,
no one will stay up to see her come home.
she’s been looking forward to college dorms
since she was only six years old,
forgetting she won’t wake to her father’s voice
and surprise trips to coffee shops on the way to school.
so her cap and gown are still wrapped
in the plastic they came in,
and she still hasn’t bought tickets to prom.
because there’s a part of her,
she doesn’t know how big
that’s terrified about moving on.
Everyone who terrifies you is sixty-five percent water.
And everyone you love is made of stardust, and I know sometimes
you cannot even breathe deeply, and
the night sky is no home, and
you have cried yourself to sleep enough times
that you are down to your last two percent, but
nothing is infinite,
not even loss.
You are made of the sea and the stars, and one day
you are going to find yourself again.
I stopped struggling with poetry the second I realised it was just life breathing on paper in the shallow gasps of someone who is trying to find purchase amongst the air. And that what seemed like futility was really just persistence, and that the gasps led to inhalations of a much more valuable truth.