My family consists of hands wringing together, fingers calloused and red. Lips pressed tight together until we can’t do anything other than sigh.
So I keep my hands clenched down my side and in the hair of my lover. I form my lips into a red O and I laugh with abandon; my wrinkles will be those of mirth, I promise myself this.
Even if I’m too young to make promises, even though I’ve spent weeks inside my room with my brows furrowed.
My family is built out of women with bad backs from bending themselves backwards to find love, only to find themselves abandoned and building houses out of broken hearts and empty promises.
So I learn to be cautious of a certain type of man, those who walk too softly and chew gum. The kind who thinks children are a promise they can keep only to find the bonds they create are brittle and easy to walk away from.
Even when my lover doesn’t come home for days and pours himself into guitars and empty houses I am sure in my choice. I’ve left my heart here and the roots are growing wild and untamed like his hair across our pillow.
My family lives by the sea and the salt water is a constant on their cheeks, digging furrows that go so deep that in the end they mimic the mountain sides they surround themselves with.
So I ran away to the city with its veins full of red bricks and tubes.
Even if I dream of waves that make the brick houses crumble and drift into the river, I dream of waves that tear down skyscrapers to make room for mountains and the city foxes are devoured by lynxes.
My family is built out of women stronger than iron, when they laugh they roar and when they love they love fiercely. We live amongst mountains and we have the northern lights in our eyes.
Even when we move to a place where we can’t see the stars, even when we forget the smell of the sea.