emily kendal\









Genuinely cared little for their dilemmas

Bloomed big on the stalk 

Didn't want you to touch me 

Didn't choose allegiance to any status

Named love “the only immutable abundance”

Questioned mind-based knowledge

Began to believe 

My own lived mythology

Had an abortion 

Didn't laugh when you were violent and called it humor

Became willing 

Squirmed out of your preferences 

Named you “ghost walking in fear’s footsteps”

Stared when you chortled at my public exuberance 

Stared into your skull and beyond 

The bones time hangs on 

Found the moldy root

Burned each of your past lives

Made a paste from your life ash

Planted a lake w/ infinite tributaries

And sent you particle by particle downstream

To ease

Your immense caustic nothing

Pitied your power

Poured milk on it

Honeyed your blood 

Dreamed it back inside your baby ears 

Clawed you

Free but just enough 

To know you were never free 

Got older

Physically and yet kept enjoying

My body

Snorted in the make up aisle

Was a slow learner

Touched myself with the ferocity of an angel ascending hell's rim

Made gold of my thighs

Wailed on the subway

Puked in a bush

Believed each body to be a portal to its next explicit cosmos

Sometimes was clean

Did not take you back when you left

Did not nourish your narrative

Never faked it

Did not shave my vagina bald

Did not pretend to like football

Bled out from a broken family

Kissed her in the back of a cab

Held him like a baby but wasn't his mother

Was clear on who I was

While swimming or having sex

Emily Kendal Frey is the author of The Grief Performance and Sorrow Arrow. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she is a teacher and therapist.