How I Started by Faith Brooks
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How I Started by Faith Brooks

How I Started by Faith Brooks

When I was born

I changed my mother’s hair

(What happens to a body is a daughter’s fault).


I drank salt water mixed by a propellor

On the back of a boat,

Ate grapefruit my grandfather bought accidentally,

Took a 500 a month stipend

And some bullet points,

Pushed on the doors I knew would get me out of there.


I sent you four rough drafts on a Wednesday morning

(Wednesday being the only day things happen to me),

Cut out my larynx and replaced it with yours,

Braided my veins

Into twisted irons

Licked up the rust and

Pulled myself

(On my stomach)

to the water.


Isn’t it pretty?


Sifting through

Shells, muscles, bones

the ones taken out of

other backs

buried in the sand

of the before –


I hold the name in an open hand,

I wear it like a curse,

Like a conversation starter about God,

I wear it like a religion I don’t practice,

I wear it like a gift my parents gave me,

Without ever being able to give it up.


You wonder how I started?


I followed the red ribbon






It’s stained beneath my fingertips.