I am Kristin. I love to draw, write fiction, and put things together.
The Day I wanted to be an Artist
Snapped paper colored pencils,
Powder from pastels caked onto my hand,
Dried paint under fingernails
Water poured softens the clay.
Tiny me sits on the floor of the studio.
I am wearing crayons into stubs.
Setting dolls aside, drawing my own
Their heads heavy like the weight
Of my pencils pressing their arms.
In the studio, flecks of paint clog the sink.
Flowers burst from the horn of a saxophone.
Tree branches twist around piano keys.
On top of the still life, a wind up toy.
When I finish my dolls, their clothes curl
And their faces look more abstract than human.
I see the still life objects in front of me,
Like actors tangled on a stage.
Watch the students render them in detail
But I am not allowed to touch the paint.
Still, I wonder if I can steal a drop or two
On the first week of sixth grade,
I am fumbling through wads of paper
Looking for my homework.
My bags a labyrinth of codes of conduct
And class expectations I forgot to read.
The teacher calls my name and I stand,
Shirt untucked, knees red from where
I fell on that stone.
I mumble that I can’t find it,
Wipe my eyes with my sleeve.
First week of school I am a
Slacker. Cry-baby. Weirdo.
Classmates don’t know me but
They know they won’t be friends with me.
After the bell rings,
Girls at my school huddle together
Form bands of conversation
As I trail behind,
The weight of my book bag
Enough to topple me.
As I wait for my ride
I see smooth hair girls
Get in their father’s truck—
Shirts tucked, lips glossed
Followed by a crowd,
That forms a closed circle.
I am four nine, under miles wide suns,
Waiting for this ride that may never come.
But when my mom finally picks me up,
I tell her about all the new friends I made.
My Birthday, Literally
June 15th 1994, my brother and sister
Wait in line for Hardees: their only barrier before
They can hop in the car and see their new sister.
The line moves ridiculously slow.
My father has to assure them that it will be a long time before
I look any older.
Meanwhile, after nine months curled in darkness
My mother dumped me into this world.
She picks me up like she would a small fruit,
And cradles the tiny red thing in her hand.
My skull still tender, they prop me against white sheets
Gather the fuzz on my head into a spike,
And take my picture.
Even ten years later, it stands on display next to my brother,
Who looks like he’s making farting noises with his mouth,
And my sister, whose hands are curled up in prayer position
I am the only one with eyes squeezed shut from the shock of birth.
One time, my cousin exclaimed, “You look just like your father!”
Actually cousin, I look more like a tomato.
Our father one had black in his hair.
Now it sits like cotton on the top of his head,
Glows white in the sunlight.
Before he moved to the land of the first flight,
My father lived through desert nights
And winters curled against coal and covers.
He would watch his father smoke,
See the patent pipe jutting from his mouth
And the smoke that curved like Farsi letters.
His mother would boil rice
Then dust the yellow grains with lime,
And mix dill into the yogurt,
My father would chant Cali-gonde to his brother,
Taunting him for having a big head.
The rocks would dig into his bare feet,
When my Uncle, tired of his bullying,
Would chase him through the yard.
He only knew one way to say ‘I love you’—
Man toe ra doost daram.
Back then, there was black in his hair and
He could remember the land before his first flight.
Is that I actually don’t like writing Poetry that much.
But I shall post what I’ve written this semester…