The white woman likes old cars
and borders. Says reclaim with the confidence
of a guillotine. A judge, separating another child
from her mother, says I don’t remember
your names but I’m sorry, there’s nothing
I can do.
– from “Nostalgia is the Prettiest Liar”
A lot of us are fingers and faces and facts misplaced. We look up to those who looked up to others, but who may never look down upon us. When we are born we have hope; when we grow up, we might still. Either way we have stories we can invent to show us how it should have been done in the first place, because after all we are only made up of what we tell ourselves. We are always safe when rewritten.
Gaia Rajan’s debut chapbook, Moth Funerals (Glass Poetry Press), carries the weight of a life lived through someone else’s eyes. Voyeurism in reverse – stretching so far to turn around, and missing the life laid bare. . It’s innocence in a sense because while we all have to grow up, but it’s still okay and sad and happy and other adjectives. But to be Blackbird, or a lonely doll in a fancy dollhouse, or be “ball-gowned, butcher knifed” would be a story to be told.
Growing up is hard. We face mirrors and wonder where our story begins and ends. We stare face to face with our versions of our histories and change them to how they should have been. Sometimes we need a rewrite, a new past, the rain to wash “us clean as if we could be anything,” because though we cannot change the past, we can edit the hell out of it.