Stepping Stones, part 1

i am fourteen years old. the year is two thousand and four. my mom is away visiting my grandpa. he has cancer. he will not live much longer. i am feeling so alone. i miss my mom. i have already decided not to return to public school this year. it is August. i am sitting alone on the porch. there are no walls; it has not become my bedroom yet. i see a small piece of broken plastic in the dirt. it is sharp. i am sharp; if anyone gets close to me my anger and sadness will cut them. i pick the plastic up. i press it into my flesh, near my knee. i drag it against my skin again and again. i am bleeding. i lie when asked what happened. scraped myself on something. it was an accident.

 

i am seventeen years old. the year is two thousand and seven. my parents drove me to Burbank. we carried my things up to my third floor dormitory. at some point my dad cries. he does not want me to leave home. he has held on too tightly and i’ve been afraid to leave because i don’t want to break his heart. but at the same time i am angry at him because i want to be allowed to spread my wings and fly. i want to stop being his emotional crutch.

 

i am eighteen years old. the year is two thousand and eight. i meet a boy. he is really sweet. i tell myself i do not want a boyfriend. i want to be just friends with this boy. in a week’s time he will be my boyfriend.

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I hate your leaving footprints in the snow.

 

*I think I may have expanded this into a longer poem at some point, but I don’t know for sure. If I come across it, I will post and link hopefully.

R: “Okay. We can do that.”

we had a beautiful conversation,
it was the middle of the night
and you wanted to know
what my intentions are.
i was only gonna ask you
about work and tell you
more about the boys’ day
but instead you spilled
your heart and caught me
so off guard, i struggled
to say anything back
that would matter
even half as much
as your words.
though i doubt you knew
how much they meant to me.
i wonder if you call me
a friend.
would you introduce me
as “my ex-wife, bree,”
“my sons’ mom, bree,”
or “my friend, bree”?
maybe you’d just say
my name, without a title.
i think i’d like that.
i can’t remember the last time
you said my name.