by Claire Pinkston
Claire Pinkston (she/her) is a biracial Black poet and writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has previously been recognized at the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and is published or forthcoming in Diode Poetry Journal, The Lumiere Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and The Hellebore, among others. She is growing with her poetry. Find her on Twitter @clairespoet!
the moon is full tonight, and so
I am outside, fingers creased with
soft, dark earth. every month is the
same & I have learned to punctuate
my years with breath: rise and fall.
I, too, am moved along with the season.
I flat iron the last stubborn buds
open. wax the leaves green again.
somehow, I never run out of tasks
to keep my hands full. I mop the floor
with moonlight and let the foundations
hold the enormity I cannot.
my mother teaches me to uncoil
spine from skin, to fold until only
the whites of my eyes are visible.
at night, I fall asleep with her voice
in my ear, rocked to the sound of their
violence until my dreams steam
with the wreckage of her childhood
& this is how the hurt is made
hereditary, the same way memory shapes
her fists until they contort into my
own. & yes, I promise, I pray in the
moments of weightlessness, hit
the ground screaming. the gun
goes off and I force my legs to blur.
let honorifics pool in my mouth.
walk with open palms to prove
my hands are empty. roll
over so my rage rests as close
as possible to the ground. when
I have no breath to sustain it any longer,
my mother and I return to our old game.
I close my eyes and pretend
we have gained much more than
we have lost.