“I don’t know”

I know the truth, on the hazy summer days
when heat squeezes the odour out of breeze
caught flowers, sweaty inner thighs, and chlorine pools.
I know the truth of the sky in mid-turn, mid-hack
in a cloudless space, dazed by the shimmer
of sunlight that dresses it blue even if it’s
colorblind and won’t see it, I know

the truth when brownish-red popsicle syrup drips
onto a favorite white shirt, and the young girl
catches a wagged finger from the corner of her
eye, and raises the corner of her lips in glee, because
symbols can sometimes happen in pieces.
Bad, don’t, you should have known better,
look what you’ve done now, and the pleasure
of a life lived up to expectations,
I.
know.
The.
Truth.

The wagged tail of a dog up and down, off beat
with the tennis ball, and the desire to catch it sonically,
woof woof woof, the comfortable swoof of the
pads of feet pushed off concrete and the clap
of baby hands whose fingers tasted green felt last,
caught in her own wave of giggles, certain it can ride
it uninjured to a comfortable adult livelihood.
I know the truth.

The echoed screech of pain as bullets penetrate brown skin, off
key to the abrupt baritone of gunshots, sonically measured to
match the abrupt stop of a heart. I know the truth of green bills
corners lifted in glee, given to colorblind white murderers
with the pleasure of a life lived up to expectations. I
know the truth of a pointless chase, of justice ripped from
the bloody teeth of brown bodies hungry for a simple taste,
always told to drop it. The truth of a summer sun-pushed scent
of death from body like the odour of dying grass, a soundless
avatar of a scream, and responsible onlookers who fail to gather
I.
know.
The.
Truth.

Of a collected gathering of grief, hard at work to stand unshaken
in a crowd ringed by chaos, yet always named as such.

-Stephanie Ambroise

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Happiness and some other buuuhhlllshyyeeet

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emotions as they sea(m)

before writing, the heart must
bear the slowness of a wave’s crest
as it laps the grainy shore, a confident
arrival to the uncertainty of myriad
minute minerals who’ve built homes
on top around beneath behind each other,
prepared to burst at any minute
with an infallible sense of trust
only to fall away at the first,
wet touch.

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Metamorphosis

When dawn breaks
over the horizon
of your body’s surface,

let your soul succumb
to music
played by pleasured souls.

Give cold away to age
old warmths
and for once
take in and trust
whispered promises
and when

midnight
settles on you once again,
to cover remaining
thoughts,

the heart will burst
into molten lava to flow
from your mouth,
and cool as your
new skin.

-Stephanie Ambroise

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Written Approval

you can use my body
as an Etch-a-Sketch
and draw
unto me
your beliefs
in
black and white

your marvelous frown of
concentration
moves me
and I
swear, I
could drown
in the crease of your brow

and although this work
is agonizing,

isn’t it good of me to make it
so
whatever

projection of the self
you imprint on me,

if you don’t like it,
you can just shake me,
and it vanishes?

-Stephanie Ambroise

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a force to be reckoned with

i did not write today
my arms, at rest, turned desire
into a charlatan because i am a mother
who believes in moderation, and the
artist in me is a child. gazes as glints
of buildings and the lustre of lilies
and thinks it wants to create limitlessly,
no matter the hour, no matter the conflict
of schedule, or my need to shit. like a child,
it grabs hungrily at books and points shamelessly
at pictures and people and always has questions
about love and kisses and where’s daddy? like a
child, it believes to much in dreams, and every
frikkin thing that makes it’s breath catch and turns
it dizzy. stupid, inexperienced, still in
love with the world child, desperate to dig
in the most moist of soil to dig to the most
squishy and uncomfortable of things, so it
can show me. well i don’t have time.

so i did not write today, and look at you.
with this gross thing in your hand, look
at you! I did not write today, and
you’re alive, aren’t you?
You’re still alive!

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Gift: A name to life

I wonder why red. Why the borders of her lips
were traced with such a fiery and rough-cut color. why she picked
aftermath of war to wipe on her face. I wonder if she looked in the mirror
before she left.

She is beautiful in all of her glory, and she makes me think
of women who cook for husbands who kill, of women who kill
for husbands who boil rage in their gut, simmer
poison in their intestines to have erupt across
enemy lines.

I wonder why me, why her smile, why my name
squeezes a crinkle into both eyes, why crow’s feet, who can take
flight, clawed onto the face of such a woman, stuck
beyond borders.

I think your swallowed story is mine.
I have dug both hands into old stanzas in search of an accent
that’s left me bereft. I stubbed my toe on an arrhythmic couplet and lost
all sense of cadence. I spoke aloud and snapped my fingers, and no birds flew fearfully
from any nearby tree. I have sunk into a soft “t” one
too many times, without the assertive thunder of speech
to lift me out.

So I wonder why she, why her smile…

-Stephanie Ambroise

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