Bigger Things

by Danielle Johnson

I know there are bigger things
in the world - mountains, long
trains cutting through my
hometown, pain that radiates
until teeth ache, that abandoned
office building in Detroit. I know
I’m twenty six and I shouldn’t
be thinking about the time my
mom said, girls like you shouldn’t
know how pretty they are. It’s probably
time to get over little abuses
like that. I know there are bigger
things - the nuclear codes, a moose
crossing a quiet road, a police officer’s
boot positioned over a black
woman’s face. I know pain carries its
own kind of heavy weight, I know that
mine is no heavier than anyone else’s. As I sit
in this parking lot with my foot out the
driver’s side window, I know I’m not trying to kill
myself. If anything I’m baiting death,
its shadow crossing over a thousand bodies,
too interested in others’ than mine.
I am mostly embarrassed to be in this front
seat, watching a police car pull up to investigate
a hit and run on an outdated Acura. The world
happens no matter how many times mine
stops or shifts. It’s embarrassing to believe that
tragedies don’t happen if I don’t see them.
They continue no matter how much I’ve lost, or
how much I know. Yesterday, I ate bread
butter and salt. A pleasure so simple
I didn’t deserve it. I was balancing on the place
between tears and rage like a plate on a stick. So
many circus performers can balance plates
without breaking them.What is your talent?
I asked myself, What can you actually do?

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