The sun predicted this, with its rays determined
through the blinds like blades of why.
No one has given me an education for what this means,
a destruction of firsts: our first black president, our first
French kiss, pre-Apocalyptic, our first skinned knee like a heart
in brown corduroy. The first time my grandmother
voted after she earned her citizenship, American flag devout
to her lapel. The first time I saw my grandfather’s autopsy
report, & it felt like renal failure. Gunned down by a white cop.
The first time I heard the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?”,
the first time I kept that song on repeat, soothed by Kim
Deal’s cradle of coos. The first time I drove until I was out of gas.
The first time I waited up all night for my cheating
father to come home, the first week I kept this on repeat.
My first cigarette, train track, & belly button safety pin.
When I realized my mother didn’t teach us Spanish
in her desperation to protect us. When I noticed
that memory was condemned to a pile of nectar & that I
was guardian of that sweetness. That it was no coincidence
I treated paper like skin. The first time I felt the burden
of empathy. My first stretchmark. The first time
I tasted coconut. The first time my brother confessed
like a pile of bricks. My first Judy Garland, “Waltz with a
Swing/Americana,” the needle screeching off the record.
First love. My first earthquake, the ground shivering
in its uncertainty, a pandemic of exclamation marks.
The sofa rocked back & forth, but not too
violently like hope. Hope, a first lasting longer than its next.

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