B by Sarah Kay | Poem No. 14 (NPM2017)


B

by Sarah Kay
If I should have a daughter,

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.
And I’m going to paint the solar systems

on the backs of her hands,

so she has to learn the entire universe before she can say,

“Oh , I know that like the back of my hand.”
And she’s going to learn that this life will hit you

hard

in the face;
wait for you to get back up,

just 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.
And Baby, I’ll tell her, don’t keep your nose

up in the air like that, I know that trick;

I’ve done it a million times.
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 aww 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 she will anyway.
So instead,

I’ll always keep an extra supply of

chocolate and rain boots nearby,
because there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix.

Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks that 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 look at the world through

the underside of glass-bottom boat,
to look through a microscope at the galaxies that exist

on the pinpoint of a human mind,
because that’s the way my mom taught me-
That there’ll be days like this.

There’ll be days like this, my mama said.
When you open your hands to catch,

and wind up with only blisters and bruises;

when you step out of the phone booth and

try to fly, and the very people you want to

save are the ones standing on your cape;
when your boots will fill with rain,

and you’ll be up to your knees in

disappointment.
And those are the very days you have

all the more reason to say thank you.
Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way

the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline,

no matter how many times it’s swept away.
You will put the wind in win(d)some,

lose some.
You will put the star in starting over and over.
And no matter how many land mines erupt

in a minute, be sure your mind lands on

the beauty of this funny place called life.
And yes,

on a scale from one to over-trusting,

I am pretty damn 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 and taste it.
Baby

I’ll tel her,

remember your mama is a worrier,

and your papa is a warrior, and you

are the girl with small hands and big eyes

who never stops asking for more.
Remember that good things come in three’s.
And so do bad things.
And always apologize when

you’ve done something wrong,

But don’t you ever apologize

for the way your eyes refuse

to stop shining; your voice is small,

but don’t ever stop singing.
And when they finally hand you heartache,

when they slip war and hatred under your door,

and offer you handouts on street-corners of

cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they

really ought to meet your mother.

 

 

You can order her book on Amazon and Book Depository

 

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2 thoughts on “B by Sarah Kay | Poem No. 14 (NPM2017)

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