From Sarah Kay, “Postcards”

“I had already fallen in love
with far too many postage stamps
when you appeared on my doorstep
wearing nothing but a postcards promise,
no, appear is the wrong word –
is there a word for sucker punching someone in the heart?
Is there a word for when you’re sitting at the bottom of a roller coaster
and you realize the climb is coming
that you know what the climb means
that you can already feel the flip in your stomach from the fall
before you’ve even moved,
is there a word for that?
There should be.

You can only fit so many words in a postcard,
only so many in a phone call,
only so many into space
before you forget that sometimes words
are used for things other than filing emptiness;
it is hard to build a body out of words, I have tried –
we have both tried.

Instead of laying your head against my chest
I tell you about the boy who lives downstairs from me
who stays up all night long practicing his drum set;
the neighbors have complained, they have busy days tomorrow,
but he keeps on thumping through the night
convinced, I think, that practice makes perfect.

Instead of holding my hand
you tell me about the sandwich you made for lunch today,
how the pickles fit so perfectly against the lettuce –
practice does not make perfect,
practice makes permanent;
repeat the same mistakes over and over
and you don’t get any closer to Carnegie Hall,
even I know that;
repeat the same mistakes over and over
and you don’t get any closer –
you never get any closer.

Is there a word for the moment you win tug of war?
When the weight gives
and all the extra rope comes tumbling towards you
and even though you’ve won
you sill wind up with muddy knees and scratches on your hands,
is there a word for that?
I wish there was,
I would have said it when we were finally alone on your couch,
neither one of us with anything left to say.

Still now, I send letters into space
hoping that some mail man somewhere will track you down
and recognize you from my poems,
that he will place the stack of them in your hands and tell you,
‘there’s the girl who still writes you,
she doesn’t know how not to.'”


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