free verse

Telling

Tell me I’m a windmill.
Tell me that you know my design
and how nature was meant to move me.
Tell me you know the words to say
so that I will turn exactly the way I’m supposed to.
Tell me that you can move me in the wind of your breath,
then prove it.
Speak the words that have been welling up inside your lungs
like storm clouds.
I am not afraid of your bad weather,
and that’s saying something,
because they could name hurricanes after you.
But instead I am calling every flower by your name
and kissing every petal that opened after your rains.
I am licking every rain drop off my skin
and I can taste you in all of them.

Tell me I’m a library.
Tell me that my soul is lined with Shakespeare.
Tell me that you want to check out all of my volumes
and read them in the dark under a sheet with a flashlight.
Tell me that when I breathe in my sleep
you hear pages rustling.
Tell me that you have walked between my bookshelves
and have found the back corner where I hide all the stories
that no one is allowed to read,
then read them.
Read me and speak my own words to me so that
I know that you know who I am.

Tell me who I am,
because some days I forget that I have memorized my own lines,
and I feel like a foreign country to myself,
and my fingerprints look like street maps
to cities that I have never visited.
But you have left footprints on all of my sidewalks,
so walk down my main street with me
and hold my hand and remind me of my self.
And when I remember the feeling of my own skin,
I’ll take you down my alleyways and past my city limits
and show you the creek in my backyard,
and we’ll catch minnows in plastic buckets with yellow handles
and whistle at barn swallows.

I’ll tell you I’m a cello.
I’ll tell you that you are making
every part of my being resonate
in swimming startime springlight music,
and I’ll tell you that if you bring a bow
and if your hands know what to do,
you can tune me by ear
and play me by heart.

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