my dad asks for the dimensions
of my body so he can build a coffin
or a cabinet. i can't remember which.
i lay down & ask you to draw a line
from my ankle to my skull
then jump rope with it. on my best days
i fit nicely on a sheet of printer paper.
pin me to your favorite telephone poll
or fold me into paper airplane.
still, on wide august night i can swell
to the size of a garage. wait out
next to my father's ghost jeep
& talk about girth & thickness.
in another dimension, i was born
a sunflower seed & i lived very briefly
in a hardware store package.
no one bought me & i slept better
than i ever will here. i'm not sad
about having a body, i'm sad about
all the ways it's prone to measuring.
step on the scale, a nurse says
& all of a sudden she owns a handful
of my numbers. i want to swipe them
back from her & say, "my dad is
the only one who can know that
because he is building a vessel."
his actions are similar to noah
building an arch only i am only
one animal. likely never two. two by two
is a very small square if we're talking inches
but could be a fair window
if we're talking feet. i don't need
a tape measure to know the snake
in the basement is a leg.
hammer to wood. i gave my dad
imaginary number knowing i'll never fit.
he's eager. what is a child but
a project in containment.
i take my heart to the washing machine
because i want it to smell fresh & clean.
ring it out in the yard. a song bird
the size of a couch darts away.
basement door open. i measure
the size of the yard & picture shoes
filling every inch of it.
shrinking & shrinking. i feel proud.
tuck myself in a desk drawer.
wait for the numbers to sleep too.
a seven curled up next to a three.
me in between, most closely resembling
a nine but often, sadly, a four.