Ten Poems for February

researching has been consuming, i’ll keep posting as i’m able

1:
My father asked me for our family trip memories,
He’s putting something together.
It’s so funny what you remember from being a child.
I don’t remember what museums we visited or what historic monuments we photographed.
I remember I got sopapilla cinnamon sugar stuck on my fingers.
I remember that we walked for forever in New York.
I remember that my dad complained my uncle couldn’t get us real meals and insisted bought street hot dogs.
I remember we met my dad’s monk friend who he suggested got a lot of women with the “I’ll be a monk soon” line. I didn’t know what that meant at the time.
I remember what I took a picture of.
What would I remember now if I did those trips again?
Reading what my sister remembered, her bullet-pointed notes in an email response, jogged my own memories.
Oh that’s right, we did visit the Cheers bar.
And I did leave the bag of Supreme Court souvenirs on the subway.
I mostly remember being bored, embarrassed, or tired.
My life hasn’t really changed all that much.

2:
I had the realization today that he’s not coming back.
I got to tell my family on the call.
I don’t know if we’re doing grief right,
But my family has never been closer.
We’re all semi-relieved he’s dead.
And it’s brought this little group of people who are feelings the same guilt for happiness closer.

3:
I’d forgotten what student stress is like.
The assignments due you forgot about.
The constant pressure that you should be doing something.
The odd freedom that comes from an uneasy schedule.
Sending frantic emails at 1 AM because there is something you have to know right now.
And the constant small issues with bursars or tuition or loans or money.
I am very much the same student I was when I was in school the first time.
I’m still snacking on the same things. Oyster crackers and reese’s pieces.
My stressors have changed a bit. I’m a bit grown up. But I still scroll reddit when I’m bored. Worry that I don’t have enough friends. And that I’ll never amount to nothing.

4:
I thought my brother having a baby would cool down my mother’s all –
You know you don’t have to be in a relationship to have a baby –
Thing.
I was wrong.
She still thinks I would just make a great mom you, know, not that she’s pushing or anything.

5:
He asked me how I felt about marriage
These are not questions you bring up to people you’ve slept with but aren’t dating,
These put ideas in heads that don’t belong,
You don’t like me that way, I heard you tell me that,
Not long-term material, if memory serves,
And you’re asking me about how I feel about marriage?
But I gave you the truth,
Which is that marriage has never been very important to me,
I’m not one for rings and certificates.
But it would, of course, depend on who I’m with.
And now I can’t stop thinking, no not thinking, hoping
Hoping he’ll make some grand gesture.
That I wouldn’t even know how I would respond to.

6:
My roommate’s boyfriend is an idiot.
Not in the, can’t memorize facts, idiot,
But the, wouldn’t know what to do if a woman screamed at him,
Idiot.
And he’s going to go to medical school.
I can’t help but hope he flunks out, because I don’t want someone out there in the world who doesn’t realize he should say hello to the roommate he’s walked past ten times in the hallway.

7:
I bought a dog a birthday present.
How are you spending your very limited resources during COVID
Now that you make less than minimum wage being a grad student?
I bought a dog a birthday present.
A jar of nicer, more organicer, peanut butter than I would eat,
And premium, one ingredient chicken jerky that I googled to check for manufacturing location and chemicals.
I will sit here eating my dubiously treated pork I bought on sale, and be happy,
Because I bought a dog a birthday present.

8:
I miss the touch of skin.
The way my nails can dig in,
Hold on to hips or arms
And grip.
I miss getting hugs
And shoulder bumps
In offices.
I miss hearing other people typing.
I miss hair tousling and making faces across the room at the person I know, but can’t talk to right now.
I miss you mostly. I miss touching you. But those other people too, but mostly you.

9:
I ruthlessly prioritized
Did I mention I hate that phrase?
I said I needed to talk to another student later
Because I know this student currently doesn’t have a place to live
Has left her boyfriend for the fourth time after she couldn’t attend class because he wouldn’t stop screaming at her.
So I told my student with paralyzing anxiety that I would send him a link as soon as I could.
And I prioritized one pain over another.

10:
I made the perfect white cake in a square pan.
Almond extract in the batter.
Fresh jam in the buttercream frosting.
I have no one to share it with.
Because my baking friend doesn’t text me anyone.
And I said I wouldn’t text him.
And so I have to have this ephemeral experience all by myself.
I have to see these beautiful sights and remember them myself.
I don’t get to share them with you, tell you about this new trick for settling batter.
Nothing. It’s just me. And my beautiful cake.
By ourselves.

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