At 19, I read a sentence that re-terraformed my head: “The level of matter in the universe has been constant since the Big Bang.”
In all the aeons we have lost nothing, we have gained nothing - not a speck, not a grain, not a breath. The universe is simply a sealed, twisting kaleidoscope that has reordered itself a trillion trillion trillion times over.
Each baby, then, is a unique collision - a cocktail, a remix - of all that has come before: made from molecules of Napoleon and stardust and comets and whale tooth; colloidal mercury and Cleopatra’s breath: and with the same darkness that is between the stars between, and inside, our own atoms.
When you know this, you suddenly see the crowded top deck of the bus, in the rain, as a miracle: this collection of people is by way of a starburst constellation. Families are bright, irregular-shaped nebulae. Finding a person you love is like galaxies colliding. We are all peculiar, unrepeatable, perambulating micro-universes - we have never been before and we will never be again. Oh God, the sheer exuberant, unlikely face of our existences. The honour of being alive. They will never be able to make you again. Don’t you dare waste a second of it thinking something better will happen when it ends. Don’t you dare.
This is what I’m embarrassed about:
spying on you while you text other girls,
studying my pores in the magnifying mirror
that hangs in my mother’s bathroom.
The stretchmarks on my knees and the insides
of my elbows. He apologizes for the blood
in my panties but bites my neck, picks my skin
from his teeth. All of my friends are packing up
and moving to New York and I am too scared
to explore how this makes me feel in a poem.
An easy truth is my dresses are getting tighter.
I only feel like a girl after I’ve painted my nails
or waxed the dark shadow of hair between
my thighs. Funny how we believe anything
will make us smoother by rubbing it
into our skin. It takes a lot of mascara
to convince me of my own prettiness.
Right now my heart & your heart are taking bong rips,
giggle-cuddling, hoping one will kiss the other by accident.
They are stupid, smitten with smoke. Accidents do happen,
after all. Bands break up on tour; best friends fuck
the same confused girl. Nothing sacred but the spells
that spin the world in reverse.