B by Sarah Kay

>> Sunday, December 11, 2011

Warning: I read the poem out loud on a cold, biting Sunday morning and I felt the icicles of my little heart melt and turn into tears. 

because there is nothing more beautiful than the way
the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline
no matter how many times it’s sent it away.


B by Sarah Kay

Instead of mom, she’s going to call me “point b”
Because that way she knows that no matter what happens, At least she can always find her way to me.
& I’m going to paint the solar system on the back of her hands
so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say
“oh, i know that like the back of my hand.”

she’s going to learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face,
wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach,
but getting the wind knocked out of you is
the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.
there is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry,
so the first time she realizes that wonder woman isn’t coming,
i’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself.
because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers
your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal,
believe me, i’ve tried.

& “Baby,” I’ll tell her “don’t keep your nose up in the air like that, I know that trick,
you’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back
to a burning house so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire
to see if you can save him or else find the boy who lit the fire in the first place
to see if you can change him.”
but I know that she will anyway
so instead I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate & rain boots nearby
because there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix.
okay, there’s a few heartbreaks chocolate can’t fix
but that’s what the rain boots are for
because rain will wash away everything if you let it.

I want her to see the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat,
to look through a magnifying glass at the galaxies that exist on the pin point of a human mind.
because that’s how my mom taught me,
that there’ll be days like this,
“There’ll be day’s like this my momma said.”
when you open your hands to catch
& end up with only blisters & bruises,
when you step out of the phone booth & try to fly
& the very people you want to save are the ones standing on your cape,
when your boots will fill with rain & you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment
& those are the very days you have all the more reason to say “thank you,”
because there is nothing more beautiful than the way
the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline
no matter how many times it’s sent it away.

You will put the “win” in win some lose some,
you will put the “star” in starting over & over.
no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute
be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life.
& yes, on a scale of one to over-trusting
I am pretty ******* naive but i want her to know
that this world is made out of sugar.
it can crumble so easily but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out & taste it.

“Baby,” i’ll tell her “remember your mama is a worrier
but your papa is a warrior & you are the girl with small hands
& big eyes who never stops asking for more.”
remember that good things come in threes
& so do bad things & always apologize when you’ve done something wrong
but don’t ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining.
your voice is small but don’t ever stop singing
& when they finally hand you heartbreak,
slip hatred & war under your doorstep
& hand your hand-outs on street corners of cynicism & defeat,
you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.



Dear poetry, you really do belong to The Start. For when I don't know where to go, you show me where to.

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