little diamond solitaire.
given to my mother by a man
who is not my father, it sits on
the index finger of my left hand.
it never comes off, it always reminds.
don’t settle, trust your intuition.
never let a man make you feel like
less than a person. if you’re unhappy,
leave, and run fast. take care with
yourself, your choices. don’t get
trapped. don’t turn your back to
corners. don’t be unhappy years
from now; my father gave her a much
nicer ring and two daughters he says
he never really wanted and that was
pretty much it. they’re in the next room
but they’re not in love.
what it’s like.
you slither between wrinkled sheets on an unmade bed. the ceiling fan is 50 years old and louder than your heartbeat. you try to be small; you are small. you don’t know what time it is but it’s dark. you’ve been smoking a lot of pot lately. it helps you sleep; so does the valerian. you’re alone tonight but you’re wearing a black lingerie slip because black is slimming and you’d like to disappear completely. you’d like to be 92 pounds of nothing instead of 92 pounds of just, empty. you can hear frogs outside and the occasional cicada. you assume there are moths gathered at the porch light, because that is how the world works. beetle wings hum against the window screens; as a kid you’d flick them off because you liked the sound it made. now you just lay still and try to sink into the mattress. what happened to you? do you care? you fall asleep finally and then it’s noon and the wood floor is freezing cold underneath your bare feet and you’re still here. still empty. still small. you eat some cereal out of the box with your hands; you forget to brush your hair.