I. Ripped from the womb with forceps, while my unconscious mother slept—I imagine being hung from my feet and slapped, the sting causing an instinctive gasp, fueling my first cry.
II. That sinking feeling, the one when you know someone you love has left you, I haven’t had it once since we met. The lavender licks of ocean foam bubble around my ventricles and valves with the rocking rhythm of his current. It’s safe here on shore.
III. My memories have taste buds—I can smell the morning we woke up together, run my tongue along the salty sweetness of the day he said yes, gulp the warmth of our first born like a miracle. Every moment has a different palate and lingers on my teeth.
IV. I remember the fertile mud smell of the lake in Missouri where I learned to swim. If sense of smell worked underwater, it would smell of catfish and silt, and long afternoons of treading water in the sun with the bluegills.
V. Should I ever grow a tail, my sacrum will connect it to my spine and wiggle when I walk or wag. For now, it holds my pelvis in place, gives each side a wall to lean on, like beatniks against a lamppost.
VI. Paint your gods into tombs, into cathedral ceilings. Carve them into stone, to marvel out at humanity, anchored to cliff and the bottom of the sea. In modern times, they look like us, but it hasn’t always been that way.
VII. Waiting is a horrible preoccupation. When I’ve no choice but to wait, I make and memorize lists, make decisions, make solutions, recite poetry. Poetry waits for me.
VIII. Non-binary and androgynous, like a female sea snail, language leaves gender neutral trails in mucus ink. Predators slurp it up and call it their own.
IX. I forget about tomorrow and how it accused me of guessing wrong, of assuming my own identity, of collapsing in on itself before I even open my eyes to look back at its selfish, eager, skin.
X. Moss and glossy flecks of dirt surround my irises, earthy and lonely, like the way my mother stares at me with pride. Her eyes, look like my eyes—they look green when bloodshot veins shoot in like roots.
XI. Some consequences shatter like a cold wine glass dipped in scalding water, while others drift and coat like dust on drapes, or thick grime dirt under a fingernail. The best ones lift character from within and resist the pull of gravity, while never making our heads spin.
XII. Anytime I asked for reassurance, I only asked because I knew the answer and didn’t like it. No one but me, can tell me it’s ok. My own mistakes dash away with a bow and a curtsey, to leave me learning new steps.
XIII. My impetus swells behind my tonsils when I watch television all day on Sunday. It causes a rash under my tongue and makes my bones itch and my nerves jump. Only a tsunami of liquor squelches such nonsense.
XIV. Birthday after birthday after birthday after birthday after.
Trish Hopkinson has always loved words—in fact, her mother tells everyone she was born with a pen in her hand. She has two chapbooks Emissions and Pieced Into Treetops and has been published in several anthologies and journals, including Stirring, Chagrin River Review, and The Found Poetry Review. Trish is the co-founder of a local poetry group, Rock Canyon Poets. She is a product director by profession and resides in Utah with her handsome husband and their two outstanding children. You can follow her poetry adventures at http://trishhopkinson.com/.