one-hundred-sixty-five.

fortune,
not in a pay cheque.
summer,
on a sunday morning subway ride.

one-hundred-sixty-two.

if we talked about anxiety then,
the way we do now,
in our separate lives,
in different cities;
with our separate pals,
in different threads,
would our worlds have continued
to collide,
instead of disrupting over
‘uncanvassed’ trauma?

one-hundred-fifty-six.

hands clasped in prayer,
right at the heart.
innocence and religious,
hoping something greater is listening,
somewhere above us,
hidden in the pink-grey clouds
at golden hour.

holding an opal crystal,
tracing a bracelet,
repeating an affirmation,
talking to the one you lost too soon.

whether organized or personalized,
hope is defined by the hopeful,
dreams by the dreamer
and wishes by the wishful.

alive, dead or in-between.

one-hundred-forty-three.

i thought i wouldn’t get through you.
i was stuck at the start, in a pool of hot
tub water, stuck to one of those water jets.
you were attacking me —
or was i letting other people do that?

my friends said, “your eyes are dark,”
and, “i’ve never seen you this low.”
i was drowning in that pool of hot water,
i was stuck there,
dreading the air free from my bed.

i learned: i have to be strategic
about what i give myself to.
i love so hard and so deep that
when i’m forced to give something up,
i crack more than a broken joint.

i learned: i define, “career,”
and my job doesn’t define me.

i learned: i can still do good and do well,
without being hollowed in hell,
surrounded by people who won’t lift me up,
who will tell me i’m failing, only because
it will guarantee them the raise
and me: the same job with bad pay.

i learned: you’re just a year and you aren’t forever,
but with lessons
and hurdles
and journeys uncovered.

one-hundred-forty-two.

spending money and time
on a white gold never-ending circle,
a symbol of everlasting eternity,
wrapped around the finger
most connected to the heart,
should not be a one-sided
purchase or decision,
regardless of how big the diamond.

one-hundred-forty.

once, a boy told our classmates we had done things we hadn’t
because i broke up with him.
he said i was good with my tongue;
though my tongue had never touched him
or his greasy braces.
we “dated” for a few weeks; i don’t count it.
when his lies didn’t catch on as fast as they could’ve,
he started telling people things that were really true:
“she has hairy arms. really hairy arms.”
someone pushed up the left arm of my green fleece uniform sweater
and said, “woah, he’s right.”
i waxed my arms for a long time,
naired them and scarred them,
got grounded for making the house smell like chemicals;
never wore t-shirts, either.
do you see what happens when we automatically
give boys more power?

one-hundred-thirty-eight.

we’re like what happens when
you take the odds and ends
out of the fridge,
because your stomach is growling
and you need food.
you whip something up,
tossing in spices and oils
alongside unparalleled ingredients.
the combination doesn’t historically belong,
nor has it been seen in any cookbook
or instagram branded #foodporn.
but we’ve invented something that works,
better than any written recipe
could have ever suggested.
spicy, but sweet,
spontaneously savoury,
mild when we need to be.

one-hundred-thirty-six.

sometimes, familial love is like:
that dying plant on your desk.
you keep pricking off browned leaves,
re-potting it, nurturing it with new soil;
hoping it will eventually flourish,
like those picture-perfect greens,
like those picture-perfect scenes.

one-hundred-thirty.

why value yourself just on
your time spent at work
and undervalue those you love
for staying at home
to be with their seeds
as they grow into
sprouts and flowers?
why define work
as only what you feel is hard,
what keeps you up at night,
and roll your eyes at those you love
for losing sleep nurturing
their baby bird;
one they made with their own
flesh and blood?