Constructed of the genes of my co-creators–
the sassy Black Irish,
the passive, graying Scandinavian (could’ve sworn Dad was French)–
I end up a shade of Romanian white,
sprinkled with freckles
where either angels kissed me
or peed on me.
I am broken down, reduced,
and deconstructed daily
by the elements of life:
Age, worry, stress, distress,
illness, frustration, exhaustion,
and sometimes anger.
Optimism has seen me through hunger and homelessness,
through carlessness and marital strife,
through my child’s unknown diagnosis,
through feelings of friendlessness and
the collapsing of my seemingly wonderful life.
Is Optimism the Holy Spirit’s name,
or is it something incomprehensible
that dwells inside me?
For does it not haunt my temple
in a pleasing way?
Is it I who holds onto Optimism
or does it hold on to me?
For everything in my life is broken,
but not shattered.
The cracks will always be there,
but that’s how the light comes in.
That’s where the wrinkles come from.
Optimism is why I’ve done
everything I’ve ever done.
It is why I’ve chosen to stay here,
why I’ve chosen to go there.
It is why I know what I know,
and chose not to know
what I do not wish to know.
Every gray hair–
like the rings of a tree–
show the world
that I have made it this far.
the day will come
when I will wash it away
with a five-dollar box of natural auburn,
and my body will run red with the steaming shower water
as if I have bled from every pore.