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To My Future Daughter

QU Montage

Clare Michalak 

        You are going to meet people who remind you of the elements, of the smell of vanilla, of silk and you are going to meet people with eyes that resemble batwings and laughs that sound more like screams.  

        There will be a girl who is a lit match, burning and fading with the faint smell of charcoal and iron. Sizzling You will meet her when you are four years old and she will not scald your fingertips. She will be the white steam rising from porcelain mugs filled to the brim with jasmine tea that her mother makes in their tenth story apartment with the fire escape. But not Smoke. She will know the word sorry but it will not be abused. Not like your father. Her laugh will scorch your memories of loneliness and her warmth will be a shelter, a blanket, even when she is tossed aside into the wooden trunk under the stairs until next season. Her fingernails will always be pink too.  She will be the pink filtered sunlight through stained glass. A flame. Do not lose her. She will reignite your fire and burn yellow streaks into your hair.. She will illuminate your days, but you must find peace in her temporary darkness, especially when she has a curfew.

        There will be prone cinder blocks that stand on your chest until you can barely recite your poetry. These blocks will bar your way, they will crush you under the weight of their pressed pants. Tombstones. Collapsible catacombs. They come in many forms but they are always the same density. Broken ribs. You can only crack their hard exterior with the sweat of your brow and your own tidal waves. They will not budge, but you will overcome them. Flood them. Pursue. Pursue their pursed lips and too-fragrant aftershave. They will threaten to collapse and swallow you into a void. They will promise their own crushing weight against your skull, the same one they have been trying to fill. They will promise oblivion. Water is stronger than stone. Wind your river around their stones. Forage on.  

         There will be a girl who is the underside of a worn leather shoe. At least, that it what you will think. The words that drip off of her speckled forked tongue will sound like a perverted lullaby. Her scowls like the curvature of a black cave and her smiles will reveal sharpened teeth. She will be a tornado with sharpened debris, a grater and grinder that will swallow you whole, rip your clothing and fling your possessions into walls. She will spit.  Her winds will break through holes in your bones and leave you riddled like the pockmarked surface of a lava-cooled stone.  She will await in the depths, rearing her head in the most insecure plains of your mental realms. She is red tinted moonlight. Paranoia. She is the dread that latches on to your mind like a black spider web. She is cobwebs. If you do not dust your corners she will stay. And multiply. She is smoke. Catching her is like trying to wrangle change into a cage. Make her step in your puddles and flood her shoes with kindness. Especially because she’s your sister.

         Some people that you will meet will be empty houses. Their walls and windows and cabinets will be well constructed. Their hallways will be brushed, smooth, and bare. However, their cabinet shelves are empty with lines of dust and their walls bone bare. They will try to claim you as space. As a wall decoration. As an adornment. Their fingers will wrap around your wrist and leave tattoos of bruises. They will expect you to fill the space that has been vacated. They will invite you through their wooden door. Do not cross that threshold. You may decorate the world but you cannot decorate their halls. For they will hang you like a trophy under the mantelpiece or hang you by arms on a hook. If you are trapped, flood the halls. Burst open the door and wash away the traces of your body from the walls. You are meant to be more than a white marble idol. 

        In your health classes they will teach you about addiction. About needles. About pills. They will not teach you about the stubble on his cheeks or the way that he smells like rain. They will not tell you to run from your own increased heartbeats. There are no clean needles when his arms are wrapped around your waist and his lips are in your hair. They will not tell you that his laugh will feel like a high. They don’t talk about how you feel the physical absence of him when he is not by your side or about the way he has latched himself on to every third thought that crosses your mind.                 

        They will also never tell you about how it feels when he is ripped from your veins. When there are traces of water on your skin and that, whenever it rains, you feel the serrated edges of yourself tear like muscle fibers. They will not tell you about the blackness around the edges of your mind that hint to the void that has been ripped into your skin. They will not tell you about how his jacket will smell stale. I promise you this; wait for a thunderstorm. Watch as each drop skyrockets across your windows and watch as your void is filled with spilled lightning and the cacophony of thunder. Your serrated edges will rust and crumble smooth. 

        Wait for moonlight. He will not be a drug. He will be a hand. He will pull you, push you, like the tides that you are, stretching into new shapes and forms. He will propel you forward, along side you. He will show you the difference of what you want and what you need, gale force winds and a gentle breeze. He will show you how to filter, how to censor those out of your depths that do not belong there. He will encourage and coax and push you to reach the limits of your own sea. Let him. He is your moon, not your sun. He does not smell like rain. 

        And you, my dear, if you couldn’t tell, are the sea.  You are the white sea foam that froths at the edges. The rolling waves that hold shells and stones. Your waves are ripples and tsunamis; be careful of which you utilize. Your fears will churn in raging wave pools. The thing about wave pools is that if you keep going in circles, you will drown yourself. Control your currents.  You are sapphire, untamable, though your challenge will invite many, few of which amiable. Smash them against the shore and away from your form. Do not forget that you are also the Black Sea, The Dead Sea, The Red Sea. You are ever changing, ever growing. Your salt can wear away stone. And you are also my daughter. A chaotic mess of water and salt, but mine nonetheless. You will see many things in your life, people will drown, and swim, and float in your waters. But you, you my dear, are the sea.