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Dominica

There is something in the air,
pressurized so we can breathe it,
that puts a knot in my chest every time I inhale
39,000 feet above the sea

There is something about the propeller vibrations
that mimic the muscles in
my legs and back

I am flying home.
I should be flying home to you –

I brought you a volcanic rock from a beach where
the road ends and some handmade soap
and a peppermint chocolate bar –

I’ll probably eat the chocolate
when I’m sad and put the soap
in the bathroom to use up as fast
as I can and set the rock on the windowsill
next to the crazy basil plant

There’s something about
the emergency exit row
that reminds me of the last time we flew
when I slept with my head on your soft shoulder

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I started lifting heavy weights; I began a real skincare routine; I planted a garden; I learned how to make candles and sourdough bread; I spoke real lines in a play; I bounced on an Olympic-style trampoline; I roasted my first artichokes and braised my first short ribs and baked my first sweet potato brownies; I gave the best man speech in my brother’s wedding; I traveled to St. Louis and Michigan and Maine and New Orleans and Philadelphia and the Outer Banks and Spain and Morocco; I took off my clothes in front of strangers at Spa World; I hiked all over Maryland and Virginia; I started being deliberate about saving money; And, if everything goes well, I might have a big, exciting announcement to share in the next few weeks.

Overall, not bad for my 30th year of life.

on losing 19 pounds

checking myself out in the mirror
every morning when i wake up
doesn’t suddenly make my boyfriend
want to marry me

the green pants that haven’t fit
in over a year
now hang on my hips
but that doesn’t make my job
any less soul-crushing

i want to shout
“be kind to your curves!”
but then i get online
and see that yogi twisted up
and balancing on her elbows

dutifully planning diet-compliant meals
on sunday afternoons
only makes me pinch and prod and pose
a few hundred more times than usual

There was only one toilet, and there were two of us. We tried to dance around it, and we tried to be strong. In the end, we had no chance: someone was going to have to shit in the tub.

I cried after my 6th bout of diarrhea, and he kept making jokes after he puked out everything in his stomach. Really good jokes with impeccable timing.

He sleeps on the twin bed pushed next to mine now, not even snoring a little. I eat a packaged croissant quietly and slowly. I have never loved him more.

thank you note

thank you for walking under the cherry blossoms with me
and talking to me as i cried afterward

the day before radka lisa day was a rough one
and a beautiful one

when i am able to walk down streets of english-style houses
and not worry about everything, i want to be walking with you

it doesn’t show up
in the timeline you expect
when it’s rainy outside
and leaves begin to change.
it hits you in the gut
when your boss blindsides
you with criticism.

i filled my calendar with dates and appointments
and then the next month cancelled all my plans
i wrote letters full of love and made phone calls
and then stopped replying to messages
i ran and danced and hiked and swam
and then slept and cried and slept some more

it doesn’t show up
on schedule
when you arrive home
to your dark apartment.
it hits you in the chin
the moment your lover
climbs in bed next to you.

at my best:

i am peaceful, wide-eyed, finding myself in the right place at the right time, playing outdoors, encouraging and excited about others’ achievements, dancing and writing and free to create

at my worst:

i am insecure, constantly seeking reassurance, comparing myself to everyone and always ending up at the bottom, bored and stagnant, stuck in other people’s rules and expectations, paralyzed by fear