Read: Kathryn Botsford

To This Human I’ve Not Yet Met

To this human I’ve not yet met.

The first time I saw your picture,

your mama brought it out of her front pocket—

             a little joey in her mama’s pouch.


Your daddy pointed out each limb;

you were the size of a nickel.

You’ll be flipping




soon. Don’t worry, child. It’s normal.


To this human I’ve not yet met:.

When you come into this world,

I’ll be thousands of miles away.

But, your papa will be there to

wash you off and sort out your

             belly button.

And, your mama will be there to

feed you and give you a place that feels like



To this human I’ve not yet met:

             The world is loud, child.

It’s going to be a strange first

             out of belly

experience. Lots of things happen in those

             first few seconds,

and I want you to raise your voice

             above the cacophony.


I want your mama to know you’re


your daddy to know you’re


and your Llama and Papa to know they’ve got a

             new human to love on.


But mostly, child, I want you to shout

             because your voice is


even when

—no especially when—

             it’s new.

Celebrate, child, cuz this life not meant for



To this human I’ve not yet met:

There are so many things I want to give you

I want to give you

             Alphabets with which you can catch thoughts like fireflies

             Puzzle pieces linking what you know to what you don’t

             Chutes to slide down and ladders to climb up

                           cuz you never know where your dreams might take you.

I want to give you

             Erasers to teach you that mistakes will happen, but it’s gonna be okay.

I want to give you

             Bubbles to show you the beauty of fragility

             But also marbles for the beauty of strength


But, mostly, I want to give you peace in knowing

             That my love knows no kilometers or knots or miles

             I’ll send it to you on the sun as it crosses our sky

                           through the twinkle in the Moon Man’s eye.

             I’ll fly through time and space, and when I hold you and you smile

                           You’ll know exactly why

             I love you, child.


To this human I’ve not yet met:

I’ve loved you since you were a

             joey in your mama’s pouch—

             a nickel in your daddy’s hand

Flipping heads over tails excited to be alive.

sea glass


My vagina warrior lived inside of me

pressed down and sodden

like the dregs of yesterday’s coffee grounds.


On a ship in a glass bottle,

I admired her—

             A piece of decoration.


The beliefs of not good



not beautiful


chain her to the mast,

splayed her, restrained her

in a way that rendered her


             defenseless       and


to the onslaught of

wave after wave of perfection—



She will never be


She will never be


She will never be



My vagina warrior fought these


She rallied the

             force of her arms,


             power of her legs

and the cuffs opened

not with a


but with the



sound of the oppressed.




The sonic sound shattered the glass.

She refused my







She relished in her





She defied definition.

She created discomfort

to make me fucking feel.

             something         anything


She turned to me,

not with rage

but with


because I’d kowtowed to

rules     and       opinions    and

             external pressures

changed my self to fit into


glass bottle—broken

though it may be—

with its missing pieces

and jagged edges

meant to cut me

and keep me from feeling

             independently whole.

Its shards scattered among the


There is no way to glue it back together—



My vagina warrior stepped inside of


kissed my edges smooth,

and together we became sea glass.

We entered life,

refusing to be a

             piece of it—

but instead living wholly and beautifully as


Inside the Binary


I wasn’t born a writer.

I didn’t come from the womb sticky with

             verbs or adjectives.

They didn’t check my response to


They didn’t wipe articles from my eyes.

My heart didn’t beat nouns

I didn’t have ten healthy

             phrases and gerunds.

I didn’t inhale clauses

             and exhale statements.

I did not cry with eloquence

             But with an inarticulate babble


There are those who burst with


Those whose honeyed breath tastes like

               sweet similes—

their eyes, a metaphor of unspoken truths.  


Instead, I became a writer.

I learned from

               books and professors. 

My commas spliced, my voice was passive. 

I combined 0s and 1s to form

               characters on a screen.

I scratched ink onto paper hoping to find

               answers to unknown questions.


That’s all born writers do—

transcribe ideas in search of something


work outside of binaries to

                craft illusions

                construct realities


I am not that.

                I fixate on word choice.

                             I need perfection.

I take their reality and pervade subtlety.

I puncture with nuance.


I follow rules.


I operate language—

plugging words into their distinct niches of

              subject, verb, object.


but real writing is messy punctuation is a suggestion line breaks are superfluous writing 

cannot be perfected writing cannot be tamed the power words wield is greater than

humanity will ever know


I wish that I could

              create instead of manipulate.

Maybe someday osmosis will work.

Maybe someday I will learn

              to feel, to breathe, to be


Until then, I’ll live in my textbook house made of

              parentheses and ampersands.