I remember the back of my uncle’s head. The smell of the cigarette he smokes, wafting through the window. His red neck in the driver’s seat my knees brushed up against the back. Going somewhere, as a family.
I am starting to make promises to God and placing strange things that I find upon the floor into my mouth. A thumbtack, a button, a piece of yarn. I wish on them, and roll them all about beneath my tongue.
Where would I put my anger, if I had a place big enough for it?
All this rage, it seems to need its own room. Its own house. On some days, I can fit it in a handbag. On others, it swells into a thing too big for me to stow away. All this little girl anger. All this madness.
When I was young, I would eat paper. I’d tear the pieces of a magazine, a letter, a napkin. A newspaper in the kitchen. The See Jane Run book on my bedside table. My father would color in the books with little hidden spiders in black ink. I’d tear them out and eat them. Make the bad things go away.
I make origami birds and hang them from my ceiling. They are never any good, but they still count for wishes. I chew on their paper wings.
Somedays, the anger is too big. The shapes around me taking certain forms somedays the sadness is enough to make me sick. My heart not big enough for all the energy of grief—too great a space it takes inside my chest.
The only time I see them now is in my dreams. Sometimes, I get in bed and force myself to think of them, making wishes to the birds. It doesn’t always work but when it does, I always wake up crying.
I remember the back of my uncle’s head. Driving us places. Going somewhere, as a family. I don’t think that we’ll go anywhere again, now that he is gone. Not like we used to.
All this little girl anger
eating paper // chasing dreams.