Magnolias line the driveway.
When they bloom, I am outside,
barefoot, waiting to bruise.
I learned to fear the things more lovely than me.
I learned to hate the things I fear.
I learned to cope is to tame and to tame is to prune.
See how the branches fall on concrete.
How wild things are made to look fragile indoors.
How tenderness is lost after wilting.
My mother only smooths my hair
when she is upset with me.
Which is to say: we want to make things pretty
before we give up on them.