origin story – BEE LB

after Karin Gottshall

lake superior whispered me into existence, from dream

to bodily dream. my body was never meant to be so far

from the water. but so it goes.

summer of 1997, a year early and a little extra change.

my mother was round with life, my father ripe

with the stench of possibility. a month or two out

from crumbling beneath themselves.

the rusted signs pointing home. did success live already

in the confines of meth trailers? i could ask, but what would be

the point. i like to think this was before the world went bad

though the world went bad long before any living memory.

the sorrow of it all. the wasted potential. i imagine my mother’s eyes

glazing past the water stretching toward the skyline, stuck instead

to the hot sand beneath her feet. she never learned to swim

and we are all weak swimmers as a result. for her it was never

a matter of fear. somehow, the water never called to her. the water

doesn’t speak to me, but i hear it all the same. the changing of life

from possibility to responsibility happened some feet away from

lake superior. it is a slow change. one i denied for as long as i could.

i kept a drowning gown in the back of my closet. it did not go untouched,

but it did go unused. not the first, but one of many unforgivable mistakes.

that summer spent drinking and smoking and gambling and hiding.

that summer spent digging my blunt nails against rock formation.

that summer spent rushing through the forest to my favorite secret.

we’ve jumped so far ahead. what of the becoming?

there’s only so many ways one can say,

for my body to be given one had to be taken.

a misunderstanding of the way the world works

and yet, one i must have been born with.

my mother, round with life. my father, alone in a cell.

the distance that shaped me. often a gift, but not then.

there was no sorrow to be found in that moment, so

it all crawled into me, the smallest, most needful container.

origin is an entry. what becomes of the exit? it must be named a wound.

BEE LB is an array of letters, bound to impulse; a writer creating delicate connections. they have called any number of places home; currently, a single yellow wall in Michigan. they have been published in Revolute Lit, After the Pause, and Roanoke Review, among others. they are the 2022 winner of the Bea Gonzalez Prize for Poetry. they are a poetry reader for Capsule Stories. their portfolio can be found at twinbrights.carrd.co

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