1. my grandmother's ghost huddled
on my birthday in my bones, fought
to say hello to her black family in
the bathroom of the funeral home.
i tried but nothing came up,
not til the train station,
but she could never be angry
2. love is an exhibitionist.
love will want to show itself often,
undressing in your windows.
love is a dog waiting to bowl
you over. love is a spell i'm
not whispering in your ear.
love doesn't listen
3. you are a queen no matter the
season. when your room was a womb
your tiny mother ate diamonds to
keep the morning sickness away.
there is no ukranian word for
uncertainty. your eyes are
candles in a circle on the floor.
your hair speaks in tongues, grows
inches in the moonlight. your
beauty overexerts itself.
4. this one is left blank for you.
this is the space you would fill if
you opened your moving boxes, lifted
me out and blew off the dust. i don't
know what your reasons are,
but they are not good enough.
you are killing us. you are.
5. stay out of my dreams.
they are not you anyway.
they are sometimes sweet.
6. dear Ashley,
keep your palms open.
buy tiny plates. eat like a child.
stretch. plant, even while the snow
is three feet high. plant, even while
your knees are creaking like a door.
plant, even while sadness is pulling
at your pantleg, at your fingers, at
your cheeks. speak to them kindly;
all things grow better that way.