When The Sun Rises Too Early
I should run, but it is not as if I could turn back
the world and start over.
This is it.
comb the tree needles to marvel at all the green,
not one hint of yellow. Would I have lived a life more bold
if I studied in an amphitheater of firs and pines, in halls without mirrors
to remind me I am not beautiful, just a woman? Could I unlearn
all I was taught to know if I lived in a monk's cell
with blond-wood desks and empty shelves, nothing to distract
from the pious devotion needed to receive
the tribe's gift: union with soul-work's delight, lemon on cracked skin?
We squeezed lemons in our hair to soak up the sun's golden streaks
and biked the sandy path to the beach where we could lie
bare-breasted in the Florida heat. Not a desert heat that lets you pass,
but heat that sticks and seeps. A naked man stopped and asked a question
I don’t recall, just the dirty aftertaste. We turned our bodies over.
He left. We biked back to our parents' homes with this guilt:
nothing to confess, just our very existence.
I carry this apology everywhere
for doing nothing, nothing at all. I walk for blocks
through a campus that blames me for nothing
and wonder if the call I wait for is nothing, too.
Heritage: (archaic) n. a special or individual possession
I wear a pilled fleece robe, brown hair disheveled.
From my toddler's table I glare at the camera.
I am not the dimpled, freckled Holly Hobbie, the girl trapped
on the cover of my journal containing pre-dated, pre-lined pages.
I sharpen my pencil, like Attila chiseled arrows from bone.
Lisa Eve Cheby is a librarian in a Los Angeles public schools. Her poems and reviews have appeared in various journals including The Rumpus, Eclipse, The Mom Egg, The Citron Review, and Tidal Basin Review and in the anthologies Drawn to Marvel: Poems from the Comic Books and Burden of Light: Poems of Illness and Loss. Her chapbook, Love Lessons from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was released by Dancing Girl Press in January 2015.