on the inner wrists of thirteen year old girls
across america, even as my oblivious, vintage
faux-gold medusa buttons arrive at my door
from half a century ago. maybe the pain
in my lumbar spine is a message from my
overachieving great, maternal grandfather,
as if to say I suppose you could sit this one out,
enduring daughter of the daughter of the daughter.
a dried up red leaf from autumn in new york
crunches into pieces when my hand-of-destruction
reenters my jacket pocket. and the old dog
hesitating at the top of the steps makes me miss
my lost baba. out in the world, from inside my
japanese glass and steel bubble i, the observer,
take in two 20-something fems taking wide-
smiled, body positive snapshots of each other
in golden light on sunset, east of hollywood.
back home, the wet heat radiating off our new
teen’s panic-attack-back causes the need for us
to, swiftly, step (i, the stepmom) outside and
sing in the rare, dark-rain, soak in its medicine,
the tap tap tap on our up-tilted faces, a wet respite
we’re too often deprived of in the southland. a
primitive, self-taught motion compels our feet
forward and now we’re leaping in the cool
hospitality only night can host. nick drake’s
pink moon for the first time through her ears
until interrupted by the doppler effect of a motor-
cyclist’s grief over the moment he just passed
by. there is a strong undertow, dear Willow, roused
by the terrible swell that tells you, you are defective.
it will keep tugging and tugging, until you submit.
just notice it and know, centuries of blood and kismet
have gifted you this delicate casing. resist tampering
with your edges. when the harsh daylight smothers you,
love, remember the soft potency of the darker hours.
they have promised to hold our survival rituals until
our step-reflections of this night morph into your own.
Suzan Alparslan’s poems have been published in several journals including Poeticdiversity, Pedestal Magazine and Smartish Pace. She holds an MFA in poetry from Antioch University and was a proud mentor at writegirl.org. Suzan writes, massages and makes art in Los Angeles where she lives with her interspecies family.