make something

By Giorgia Sage

I write her a letter:


smile today

because birds have hatched in this sunlight

and they are beautiful in that they are alive

as are you on this day, in this sunlight


smile today.


this is what forgiveness means:


i cupped a sea urchin in my palms

tattooed its shape into my skin

what a terrible thing it is

with orange insides, something furious


i show you mud

on the curves of my calves

caked in the crevices of my joints


i am a god.

i made this.

Look.


Look:

there is a bird inside this house

beating against closed windows

it came in with the wind

it came in and never left.


it split its wishbone on the glass

i pulled it out of its chest

gave you the bigger half


I write her a letter:


love me more

worship me like you worship the small things

in the sunlight


gods pray too;

i pray to the sound your breath makes

in my mouth


otters are water’s shadow

twist it here; tie a knot

black nose and wide tail

what have i made?


maybe you are the otter and i am the sea

maybe you are the stream and i am the stone

see how quickly i sink.

beat me smooth; i will not cry

what have you made?


She writes me a letter:


you will hold other clay in your palms


but what if i don’t want to?


feel this wrath, a patient one

knead it like dough into marble;

throw it like clay on a wheel;


make something.

this kiln is cold


I write her a letter:


no.


i want to be all things weak in you

i want to be the dirt under your nails

scrub it out with coarse bristles

all down the drain, in good time

make something with our chapped lips

and the sound of your breath in my mouth


What have you wrought?

What good have you made?


i see only pain here

the only thing beautiful is your shape

embedded in the water,

a hole in the current


watch what i make.


i make myself a sea creature for you

anchored to a rock

my body a hand, clutching

the otter bobs its head, swims away


where are you going?

Can i follow?


i see it, a place i want to go

i search for it on floors

in the trenches of your eyes


i find nothing;

i find a loosened knot

otter and water reunited


i find nothing.


i make nothing.


i make myself.


I write her a letter:


don’t go.


I write her a letter:


there are parts of you i will never see

it kills me


I write her a letter:


i smiled today

because you left

and i am still here

and things are dying

and there is sunlight everywhere

and it is not beautiful.


Giorgia Sage is a San Franciscan writer who has been published in Sugar Mule, Belletrist Coterie, and the Ilanot Review, among other journals. She has been told her work is like drinking a coke with Frank O’Hara. She likes walking and often wishes she was a bat.