First draft.

Getting Better

Sitting in the tub, searching how to learn to ride a bike as an adult
Wondering if you can borrow someone else’s for an hour
Asking your muscle how its memory fares, would it try another time too

Cursing every stranger you pass whose parents forced them to give their evenings to tennis and piano and French

Wondering if they looked at their little lumpy reflections and vowed to give them better lines on their resumes, more attractive stories on first dates, a sense of purpose after half a bottle of gin before crawling into bed alone again

Remembering those people hate their parents
And you only hate yourself

Making resolutions while scrubbing the dishes by hand to teach yourself a lesson
Or just to get your hands dirty, or wet, or something to remember you have hands

Tenses get fuzzy, you insist you either learned or have to learn how to play the ukulele, speak Spanish with natives, go jogging in the mornings

Delete his number, forget the time you wore his shirt the morning of your first sleepover, your stomach fluttering so heavily you were too nervous to look at him

Delete his number too, forget the time he stayed in your apartment for two days, fucking you raw with intermissions spent pouring over records and eating Chinese

Delete her number, forget the love letters exchanged as if you were the Dickinson to her Huntington

Delete them as you crawl back into that bed that fits so much more than you and your tiny dog but cherish the moment you say “no” and he doesn’t growl and instead curls against your side and closes his eyes

Wake yourself up before the sun does, let the kettle scream you into your sports bra, clip the nails on your left hand, call your cousin in Panama, holler, “Estoy sola!”

Scrape your knees as the bike halts into a tree the way it did when you were six and your dad threw his hands up

Rub some fucking dirt on it and pedal wildly, without direction, because no one has to see the ugly anymore but you

And all you have to do is think it’s kind of pretty if you squint and you’re a little drunk and maybe you are, a little bit, all the time, on something—your first open mic night, the story you tell your own little lumps when you tuck them in with your grubby, lived-in hands

Sitting in the tub, you wonder how you’re going to get better
And then you realize you already are

Poetry by MsImaginary The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 82 times
star mini Editors' choice
Written on 2018-04-18 at 04:46

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Editorial Team The PoetBay support member heart!
From 20 May to 3 June, we asked the community to select their favorite texts on PB, dated from 2005 to today. This text has been nominated to be featured on the home page of PoetBay. Thank you for posting it on our poetry website!

Thomas DeFreitas The PoetBay support member heart!
It's a darned good first draft, with many fine touches. The "listmaker" in me especially liked the tennis-piano-French and ukulele-Spanish-jogging lines.

Always, I appreciate an Emily Dickinson reference, and I cherish, too, the accurate surrealism of "let the kettle scream you into your sports bra." There's something brave and exact and living about that line!