Pick me up
These knees, will be the pick-me-up when you fall on them.
Knees, that you fell upon, crabby and rude in your A,B,C baby swing. You marveled at your mother in her cocktail gown, the shape of her shoes out of your reach. You lay there like a splinter until she picked you up. On your knees, struggling to see. Hide-and-seek by yourself at nine, still playing it, spotting the birthmark on the bend in your knee in the dirt by an equally beat-up tree. The knees that stalked off after your teenage monologue on rejection. The knees you drummed. The furniture you helped lift, the miles you walked, the mermaid swimming, the double-dutch.
On your knees, you’ve begged when all the mercy was kicked from under you. The knees that held you up in the checkout line, at the doctor, down in the sand like a shell. The knees you covered up in the winter and saved from tough summer weather. You’ve longed for a seat in the crowded room to unkink your forget-me-not empire. On your knees, you’ve begged for your grandmother not to die, and in the same room bounced your child there like a toy.
Down on your knees, you’ve tasted a woman, you’ve held a man. The knees that trembled when you had to keep it together, but your tears landed there in the stone-cold touch of your sisters, friends, children. Down on your knees, you’ve had a very bad day. Down on your knees, you’ve laughed ’til you’ve red-faced cried. That contagious elation. Down on your knees, you’ve celebrated and sang to the floor, you’ve counted – how many more do I need – you’ve played Monopoly to gather the free parking money. Down on your knees, you’ve held your head low after drunk-depressed vomiting, used your knees as a hutch to scribble something down.
Your knees taking you to your last step.
The last time I held my knees I wanted to die, but all the hard light came in.
The only way to observe a calm spirit in my Florida haunt is leafing through poems
I collect like secrets in a private drawer by the bed. Winter is for swimmers,
summer is for sufferers. I can’t emphasize without tendency to relate.
The Hollywood Broadwalk is the she-lion of my penmanship. Every trip to
the gold coast is me trying to see the moon from the car window,
trying to move north and break me to the west. Florida was never my parent,
never my maternal mountain. The sun beaming down all the time,
won’t you hide behind some trees, stick it to the man for me?
Everything I own I could fit in a private drawer by the bed.
If you’ve cupped your hands full of hot water,
long after it’s cooled,
and are out of soul in the
battered, face-down growl of your
how does it burn?
It burns where the seeds
that you put down for your flag
in the family home, they go
missing like ashes.
What’s left of the dust is a
don’t look back break,
a sunrise that you slept through.
It burns so that when the wind is fair,
you feel it indent your spine.
You’re a cold blooded drifter
that never left the town you kicked
and cursed. Life is in sections,
a crawl space of happy poems.
It burns when you’re out
of breath because you’d love to give
like you did as a kid,
but there’s bridges unbuilt
from your past self,
the quiet giant that kept you walking asleep.
It burns for me when I think of how,
you took the Christmas tree light with you.
I burn for the sound of your voice.
Kayli Scholz is a writer and poet. Her fiction has been published in The Fem and Atticus Review. She’s from Ft. Lauderdale. @kaylischolz