A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold—Carole King
Who knew when I sat cross-legged
on the floor eating a bowl of cottage cheese,
resting the album jacket
in the V of my legs—that her words
could last lifetimes, weft into the fabric
for all these years?—Who knew
that that bowl of cottage cheese
would land just now, under my arms
to jiggle just so unapologetically—
I had cut my thumb opening the cellophane.
I didn’t even know I was flowering.
Her voice stitched my loneliness
with fretted chords. Those nights I wrote
letters to unrequited love, over and over,
until pitch-perfect, sentences perched
like birds on a wire. My blue jeans,
trophies of peace signs, Rolling Stone
Lips— cross-stitched with death wishes,
and an eating disorder. Living in skin
I wanted to jump from. Who knew
my veins would turn into estuaries?—
Taut girlhood body now crinkly
as a brown paper bag. The album blurs
from all I can’t explain, hold onto.
No spare parts, in this suitcase
of a body. Memories left
on the girlhood floor, my arms
too weak and sore to pick them up.
Cynthia Atkins (She, Her) is the author of Psyche’s Weathers, In The Event of Full Disclosure (CW Books), and Still-Life With God (Saint Julian Press 2020), and a collaborative chapbook from Harbor Editions, 2022. Her work has appeared in many journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Barzakh, BOMB, Cimarron Review, Diode, Green Mountains Review, Indianapolis Review, Los Angeles Review, Rust + Moth, MER, North American Review, Permafrost, SWWIM, Thrush, Tinderbox, and Verse Daily. https://www.cynthiaatkins.com/