TWO POEMS – Rachel Tanner

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Today I Learned I’ll Be Your Aunt

My greatest love. The world
is going to feel like too much sometimes.
That’s okay. Let it.
There’s almost nothing you can do about it.
Trust me; I’ve tried.
Save your energy. You’re going to need it
for other things. For better things.
Like figuring out where your comfort lives.
Figuring out which paths you can light
on your own & which ones will stay dark
                    no matter what you do.

There are hands that want to hold us
& hands that want to harm us.
Sometimes the difference is small.
Sometimes hope can be a weapon.
There are things 
you understand
just as well as I do. 
Adults don’t know
what we’re doing, either. 
We’re all just stumbling,
hoping to fall into ditches we recognize
                  & can find our way out of.

Sometimes people don’t find their way out.
If you get stuck, just breathe.
                   Keep breathing, if you can.

I’m sorry we’re leaving you the crumble of life.
The mush. Telling you to
make castles out of dry sand and no water.
I’m sorry for the mess. I’m sorry
                  for all the ways we failed.

Here’s what will happen:
I will build you what I can, while I can.
I will craft your tomorrows until my fingers are sore.
My body, a foundation.
Plant yourself anywhere & I will find you;
                   I will grow you.

I’m not much, but I am yours.
Let me ease all earths into your palms.

               I am so glad you exist.


tell me the main differences between salt
              and nothing.
i will tell you the similarities. i will tell you
i need both.
picture me increasing my salt intake because
my illness dehydrates as it damages me.
me choking down electrolyte water so thick
with ocean’s tongue that i struggle the tides
down my throat until i am underwater.
               i am still parched.
i am thirsty and running down the pier
because it’s easier than sinking
              into the sand. i am
leaping off the edge,
returning to the water i hate.
i am taking my medicines as prescribed.
i am trying to swim
              but i don’t know how. i am
letting the churn of the sea
carry me wherever it wants.
               picture me, with you,
               dusted with salt. picture us
               breadcrumbed with white,
               baking under the moon. picture
whatever you want as long as you want.
the lighthouses have all gone dark and we
have to find our own ways home.

Rachel Tanner is a queer, disabled writer whose work has recently appeared in Soft Cartel, Peach Mag, 8 Poems, and elsewhere. She tweets @rickit.  

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Steve Denehan says:

    These are incredible. I have read them over and over.


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