Dear World

You are a big turtle. You are a violin bow and a ladder of backbones and a lettuce leaf. You are peepers and woodpeckers and a T-shirt with strawberries on it. You are the hint of a sunburn at the tips of noses. You are restaurant toothpicks and a bowl of pink-striped mints and a crossword puzzle. You are the sound of the dryer going on and the smell of erasers. You are a twist of Oreos with the icing licked clean off. You are pinky promises and video arcades. World, you are scratchy and full of tangles that no soap or comb can tease out. But you are also bright stadium lights and stovetop popcorn with real butter. You are a popsicle drip on a bare elbow. You are sprinklers and drive-in movies and fireflies in the middle of night. World, I am doing what I can to keep you here. I am growing my own tomatoes and pulling weeds. I am writing a poem now and again. I am walking down to the rocky beach and wading in the water and watching the crabs scuttle underneath and trying not to move. I’m looking up at the stars when they come out. I’m trying to hold them in my heart. Lightly, like a breeze. And then I’m imagining those stars as if they are squares on a turtle’s back, and I wonder how many of them I could fit in my heart. How many squares. How many turtles. How many strawberries and Oreos and popsicles and fireflies. How many movies and lights. How many leaves and erasers and violins. How many sprinklers and elbows and promises. And then, dear World, I start counting.

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maya stein
Maya Stein is a Ninja poet, writing guide and creative adventuress. She has been a freelance writer and editor for more than 20 years and has self-published five books along with a handful of writing prompt booklets. Her latest books are “Grief Becomes You,” a collection of writings and photographs on the subject of loss from more than 60 contributors, and “The Poser: 38 Portraits Reimagined,” a full-color coffee table book of contemporary portrait re-enactments.
Maya facilitates workshops and retreats, live and online, and also works one-on-one with people interested in deepening their creative practice and bringing new work to fruition.
After a 7-year stint in suburban New Jersey, she is now happily ensconced in the wilds of mid-coast Maine in a house named Toad Hall.
You can connect with Maya on her website.

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