I want to be able to tell you
that when we read Hamlet in class,
my teacher leaned back against the blackboard
and pushed his hands into his khaki pockets
and said he loved the way Ophelia died.
He said he loved how beautiful it was,
all that pale, all that lifeless, all that
you take my breath away forever, baby.
He said it so I could see the pink in his mouth
behind his smile. He had chalk on him
all day after. He had crime scene on him
all day after.
I want you to know that my legs
are so used to being crossed for you
that they forget when it is time to run.
It is why we fall so often. It is why the gravel
loves us most, skins our knees and our palms
and calls it loving, calls it intimate.
You and the gravel have a lot in bloody common.
I want you to know how scared my mama is.
She holds my hands to her sides and says
no boys, okay? No boys because they take.
Take, take, take. No boys because night has
their faces in all the corners, their sneers
painted into the sky. The crickets are actually
their whispers, okay? I want you to know
how fear seems to run in my family but
skip the male genes.
I want you to see how badly my hands
turn unsure when I board my train.
I want you to know that I’ve been reading
the same sentence of my book since
nine stops ago.
I want you to know that I’m not texting anybody,
that the woman next to me
is not my friend, but I will lean a little closer
to her anyway.
I want you to know that I have no keys with me,
but I hope my loose change sounds
like sharp to you.
I want you to know how safe is
a language unlearned and
I am second generation lost.
I want you know that I will remember
the colour of your eyes and always forget
the definition of compliment, of romance.
I want to read you a list of all that I want to say
and another of everything I couldn’t.
I want to tell you that
both lists are the same, as I
uncross my legs and fold them back
the other way.
Will I be something?
Am I something?
And the answer comes:
You already are.
You always were.
And you still have time to be.