Things I Know to Be True at 22

I woke up and went to work this morning (6:30) the same as I do every morning. Once I was at work, sitting at my desk, drinking a juice, I decided to take fifteen minutes to read the New York Times and catch up on news throughout the world.


I read an article about the rapid and unstoppable force of global warming, an article about the political unrest surrounding DACA and an article about the highly under-discussed crisis of Rohingya persecution in Myanmar. Every day, I am beginning to have less and less faith in the world. It seems to me that no matter how many people there are trying to build connections, build homes, build up people, there are even more people fighting desperately to break it down.


My students are primarily Muslim. They are also exactly like all the teenagers I have had the great privilege and joy to teach in America- curious, silly, lazy, smart, talented, complicated and vastly diverse. My students wear hijabs, or they don’t. They pray five times a day, or they don’t. They believe in kindness towards others and exemplify that through their actions and their generosity, or they don’t.


My students ask me if it is safe for them to go to America.


It pains me deeply to not know what to say. I honestly don’t know what to tell them, because I don’t know the answer myself. There was a time when I could have responded “Of course!” with no hesitation, perhaps even with a dismissive chuckle.

Now I am not so sure.


I am young. But sitting here at my desk this morning, I have realized (decided?) that there are a few things that I know to be completely and irrevocably true. These are the things:


  • Children are children. No matter where you are, what they believe or what side of the world they grew up on.
  • People are people. No one desires the role of villain. No one believes that they are the ones on the wrong side of history.
  • It is far better to approach others with empathy and understanding than it is to assign blame or hatred.
  • People want to be understood. People want to be heard. People want to be appreciated for who they are. When we deny them this, we deny them everything.
  • The world is not black and white. There are not good people and bad people. There are just people who make bad choices and people who make good choices and people who are fighting between the two.
  • Everyone will lose that battle sometimes.
  • That doesn’t mean they are bad people.
  • That doesn’t mean they are good people.
  • A person is made up of many pieces.
  • To define a person by a piece of them is like writing a summary of a book after reading the first chapter. It is incomplete, it is largely biased and it is ridiculously ignorant.
  • I should not judge you by your pieces. Even the piece of you that is judging me for mine.


Most religions, philosophies and cultures that I have been exposed to teach forgiveness and love of others as a fundamental value.


Based on the current state of things, it seems to me that it has become popular to judge another based on their pieces rather than stay true to these values.

I really hope this changes one day.


I am not in love with you…


…but I really think I could be.

He is Blue

He is blue.

There are oceans and seas and lifetimes between us and yet the thought of his cyan eyes  burn bullets into my core

the night sky is an abyss of black and sparks- too far to hold, just close enough to feel. With a single orb of light rocking me like a pendulum, rocking me like a child.

Here. Where I am.

There is red and green and purple and gold and orange and silver and all of them. Are swirled together.

But he…he is blue.

He is whispers and fresh air and dandelions and cool stone against warm flesh. He is butterfly kisses and origami paper and quiet, perfect dreaming.

And in all the seas and skies of the world, I have never once seen

such a breathtaking shade of blue.

A Thousand Times

I will love a thousand times before I am scattered to the wind like dead leaves- once beautiful, infinitely temporary.

Drifting through the wind, fragments and wisps of my heart- forever lost in translation

I loved a thousand times, before I ever laid foolish, innocent eyes on your shattered soul.

With childlike wonder, I once bestowed a kiss upon every stranger- soft wildflowers carelessly picked and dispersed into the universe

But I will never love another soul as I loved you.

As though their voice alone awoke all the angels in heaven, just to sing me to sleep

As though the shards of glass within their eyes created rainbows and prisms of light that put the stars to shame

As though their laugh could provide and place all of the joy I would ever, could ever, dream of holding in my outstretched hands

I will love a thousand times after I have stopped loving you. But I will never again love a soul with my very bones.




She is lilting words on the backs of sentences dripping with stubbornness and intellect

She is eyes made of sea glass in a kaleidoscope of refracting light

She is piercing bells of laughter in the dark between moments of sleepy silence

She is star dust manifesting as freckles on sunscreen scented skin

She is champagne in a paper cup

She is stone faced independence with a heart knit from wool

She is sticky fingers of childhood watermelon melted in the sun

she is a hand written invitation on the bark of birch trees

she is a cup of hot cocoa on a snowy day, brimming with cinnamon foam

She is the moon thousands of miles away, coaxing the ocean to bring me home


Let me live in you

I trace my hand down your spine

Like reading braille, my fingertips lightly pressing each vertebrae

Feeling for the place, the spot, where I am.


I don’t want you to think about me.

I don’t want to live in your mind, turning over and over like waves.

Memories, images, turn to dust in the mind- they become muddled, dirty versions

of the perfect original.


I don’t want you to love me.

I don’t want to live in your heart, burning, boiling, bursting

with false perfections and idolization.

There is no place for my soul in a love potion fairy tale.


I don’t want you to desire me.

I can’t exist on your skin like a paper thin moment of ecstasy.

I am not bliss. I am fire and ice. I am teeth and tears gifted in soft tissue paper

I am not fleeting.


I want you to be moved by me.

Changed by me, altered and forever amended by me.

Let me live in your nerves, in your backbone. Let my soul ignite yours.

Let me exist in your very center, true north for the once lost boy.

So that even when you are blind to everything,

You will still be able to read me.



That’s When I Lost Faith.

When you decided that my tongue, my lips, were for your own pleasure and not to speak my thoughts.

When you pushed me too far, when I told you to stop, curled in a corner, naked and crying, and you zipped up your jeans, saying nothing.

When I leaned against you for a hug, and you slipped a hand down the back of my pants, where all my friends could see.

When I kissed you goodnight, and you pressed me into the passenger’s seat.

When you dug your finger inside of me, searching for something that didn’t exist.

When I said I wanted your heart, and you said you didn’t want to give it.

When I decided to give you what you wanted, because then, maybe you’d stay.