Stone Soup Servings is a regular series for Oddball Magazine that features upcoming performers at Stone Soup Poetry, the long-running spoken word venue in the Boston area that has recently partnered with Oddball Magazine. Stone Soup Poetry meets from 8-10 p.m. every Monday at the Out of The Blue Art Gallery at 106 Prospect Street with an open mike sign-up at 7:30 p.m.
On February 3, Stone Soup welcomes back Krysten Hill, who has performed at numerous venues, including Literary Firsts, The Cantab Lounge, and The Encyclopedia Show. We thank her for the excellent poem below and hope it inspires you to come out and see her perform this coming Monday.
People Don’t Stay Where You Leave Them
Mama taught you how to learn
letters, sounds for longing.
As a little girl you traced
hands in paper as a way
to watch things grow, later
traced the mole on a lover’s back
learning to identify
a body with fingertips.
Feels too long since
you woke next to your sisters
in a full bed of cartoon-printed sheets
and smiled at their go and return
of dream-filled breathing.
Too long since Tiffany left rings
from wine bottles on dressers,
at ceilings, since Janeka showed you how
goodness could be as simple
as the press of a cold wood floor
on your back.
You get moving, get going
learn no one makes absence guilt free
because they always want to know
where you have been
when the point is where you were,
you don’t want to talk about.
When you leave people
intending to grow,
don’t expect to come back
to the room of your childhood,
or the humid attic of your first love.
People don’t stay where you love them.
They change address,
and lovers, have babies, and home loans
and driving by your old house
you see the new owners
pulled up your grandmother’s peonies
she kept in the front yard, the ones
you were small enough to hide in.
Those are not your shoes
at the top of the stairs or your dress
on the side of his bed, and you think
you may have forgotten how to
ride a bike because you’ve become
worse with balance, you shouldn’t have
made so many promises, and pinky swears
are for kids that don’t know any better.
People don’t stay.
Your father keeps plans with a loaded gun
before you learn how to read
suicide notes, and you remember
your brother’s sleepy smile
and his tendency to end the night
with conversations about giving up
before he did the same.
The men that you love
always seem to make plans.
The poems come after.
And so you started taking pills
seeing how long you could hold
your breath under water,
wasting time arranging avoidance
like a house of cards
instead of just telling them all
how hard it has been
to breathe lately,
and how sorry you are about time
how you don’t know
where to start anymore.