Adrift

Told the sea I’d sail today

Toward a dream along its horizon

Dragged myself along the sand

Holding on to what I could

On the water I drift toward that line

Taking inventory of what I have

Some crumbs of home,

A bottle of memories

And a photo of what it was.

I cannot look, but I feel these items

Remembering them with touch.

When the storms reach and begin to rock

My fickle boat, I reach over the side

Down into the water, sprinkle it over

My head, my body, until I am soaked

Through my clothes. And it reaches my bones

Deep into the atoms that make me,

The cold creeping into what I am.

The line in the distance wavers

In a setting sun, blurring into the dark

And with trembling fingers I reach out

And aim down my arm like a sniper

Towards that dream of mine. Salt on my tongue

The taste unwavering, the taste in each pore

Each crevice and wound of who I am.

I told the sea I’d try again

She sighs and swallows me whole

And I sleep, it is no longer so cold.

A House and Lungs

Who am I to feel like I’m breaking or broken?
When my grandfather crossed the ocean he was alone
and picked grapes in Fresno and called home
only to be told to stay here and build
a life for the future. For me to sit here unhappy
is to reach back in time and stamp on the fruits
that he had pulled and plucked
truly breaking under loneliness and hot sun.

Who am I to break when I am so lucky?
Lucky to take my time and study and play
while mom and dad worked double shifts
and swallowed tired breaths to make sure
we kids had everything and more.
And while my closet was filled with clothes and toys
I cried breathless from pressure of just being,
so fragile and easily broken and not seeing
in the mirror a person deserving of any of it.

Who am I to break when I stand on a foundation
that had been built with withered, cracked hands
built out of sleepless, lonely nights and lost time?
My only job was to be grateful and enjoy
the fruits of the labor of others who had come
before me, who had built this house. And who was I 
to cry and beat the walls because I couldn’t breathe
When they worked their lives away to give me lungs
so that I could inhale opportunity and what do I exhale
but uncertainty and fear and unknowing of who I am?

And I left the house in search of fresher air
building a separate life still on that same foundation
not ever knowing what it’s like to go hungry or feel truly alone
So who am I to feel lonely and sometimes not breathe
for fear that the walls are cracking and this house will crumble
and I with it and everyone will stand at the perimeter
asking who and why was that.