About the author: Kristina Haynes is the author of “It Looked a Lot Like Love” (Where Are You Press, 2013). Her work has appeared in Words Dance, SpliceLit, and Freckled, among others. She’s rooting for you.
Only yesterday I was dusting myself off from a fall on the steps,
only yesterday was I experimenting with color. I don’t know
where I found the time to curl my hair. Sundays are spent
walking around the neighborhood in which I grew up with my mother,
watching children dance through sprinklers and ride haphazardly
on bikes and scooters, mouths cracked wide in pink untamed laughter.
My dentist tells me to stop brushing my teeth so hard
and what did I expect was going to happen with all of that blood
in the sink? You’d be amazed at the kinds of things you can find
under your nails if only you looked hard enough. Whenever I leave
New York I always plan my return. Whenever I leave New York
I plan never to leave again. Science does not recognize heartbreak
as a pre-existing condition, but we’ll pay doctors to sew up our skin
and listen attentively as they make plans to cut into our bodies.
Lately I’m in the habit of imagining what people sound like
when they sing. Yes, I do think a lot of us are like that whale
with the wrong song—all call and no response. I think
we’re doing our best with what we’ve got.