What I Depend On

What I Depend On
By Emily Pittinos

I believe in water, in drowning down pours,
in the Great Lakes, in rivers that turn soft along
the center, in winters so bitter
my hair freezes, in snow covering the lake,
in hay, in gravel, in rubber and salt, curry,
pasta strainers, Italian women, silence, slicing
tomatoes, calluses, kinetic energy, convertibles
with the top down, my hair flying wild
like Medusa’s snakes. I believe in boa constrictors,
in high-heeled shoes, that a woman
teaches a man how to treat her,
that between waking and dream there is
a pocket of air, that people come into and leave
my life for a reason. In being small, in riding
my bike to the top of a hill and down again,
in my little sister dancing naked
in the kitchen, my mother’s Conair
blow-drier, the engine grease in my dad’s
torn clothes, the bruise like lipstick left
by the kiss of death on my grandfather’s cheek,
in the barred owls who watch over me
with their silent wings and ever-settling presence,
in men, women, love, the long wait.