MY BOOK IS CALLED

how to build an empire with a hammer and patch of bamboo.

or how to employ an invasive species to work to your benefit and what it means to be a middle
child.

my book is called how to talk to strangers for more than five minutes. or,

reasons why i refuse to go to church, but I’m glad they made me anyway.

reasons why i won’t move to new york city after i graduate.

my book is called no i won’t drive you to the grocery store and yes i do mind.

or how to remove pine sap from the palms of your hands.

my book is called how to hide the wet spot on the crotch of your jeans or,

how to play dead when the blade is at your neck.

my books is called reasons why i should have gone to vocational school.

reasons why i always read the last sentence first.

reasons why I’m sick of having reasons.

DEAD WEIGHT

i have the worst memory except when it comes to directions, getting from point a to point
b and back again. i can always get back. even if it’s 14 degrees and the bus broke down and
my boots are soaked through and it’s pitch black and my phone is dead and I’m drunk and tired
and bleeding from the head and the roads are icy and mostly uphill and i have no money and
I’m completely alone. or sooner, I’m not alone, and the people I’m with are just the worst
and they keep telling me that we’re lost and it’s my fault and we’ll never get back and we’ll
just die trying. so i change my route based on the enormous doubt of the people around me and
everyone is just such a drag. and now we’re really lost and evidently it’s my fault. and i
walk fast so there are all these people just lagging behind, and i can hear them shouting,
abrading their friends, acting miserable. and all i want to do is turn around. i want to turn
around and walk myself back to the point where i changed direction, where i stifled my gut.
i want to stand alone in my soaking wet boots and wear my instincts like the blood on my head.
devotedly alone. but the reality is no matter where i turn the angry mob will follow. and maybe
I’ll never cast the dead weight. but the sandbags attached to my ankles will eventually make
me stronger, and if i can just perfect my stride, let my muscles tear and build, i will likely
find my pace. find the light that spins inside my head and get back. get back to the cedar
shakes. to the place where i hang my white sheets. to miss rumphius. to the sea. to the fountain
with the dirty water where i tossed my only pennies. to hamilton. to my grandmother’s attic.
to the fun drawer. to the coat box. to the zip line. to the gully where i first felt allegiance
with myself. to the tree fort. to the red rock. to the house across the street. to the eastern
prom. to plot of grass where my aunt leigh died and where i learned to ride a horse. to zoe.
to normie. to uncle cam before the accident. to my bedroom. to bald head. to the box of letters
in the back of my closet. to the parking lot. to the hand rail. to the playground where i first
learned to bleed like a woman. to the lunch room. to the basement. to the mystery river in
the depths of my backyard. to the clubhouse. to flat 4. to peter rabbit. to my favorite time
of day. but stepping back, i am unsure of what it all means, of what to call it, of how to
dissect it. perhaps collectively they function as points of navigation, perhaps they are my
bread crumbs or my tick marks or my painted trees or my street signs. individually they are
my fingers and together they are my hands. points on a map, parts of a whole. and maybe if
i keep counting my fingers and reading my street signs, i can get back. i can quiet the angry
mob and all together let the dead weight die.