a catalogue of selves

i grew from little s — unwanted child, the shadow’s shadow.
small body rounded, fingers spread and wanting
looking to define the shape of absence
without the words to show it.

where do the memories go?
where do the memories come from
when you have hidden them so well?

there is a cedarwood box in the back of my mind
that holds the small body of who i once was.

soft white cloth, worn thin, nearly sheen,
covering the face of the smallest self.

we do not open that box.

from little s grew crabgrass —
father’s favorite weed to chew on.

sunset slipping beneath the horizon,
small body growing smaller.

what does it mean to see someone for who they are —
not who you want them to be — and love them still.

this self never knew, and it is a lesson i am still preparing
gathering materials to teach myself.

this is the self who built the cedar box, tucked in the back
of mother’s closet, sanded smooth
but forever unfinished; no varnish, no stain.

this self is buried in the cold soil of a mountain
i will never again have to face.

from crabgrass grew plum —
the first step toward a being
that could belong only to itself.

held in a careless palm, teeth marring skin,
bringing forth bruises.

the self that wrapped itself
in other selves just to survive.

fracture of the mind,
broken mirror, shards of glass
collecting in a scarred palm.

this self is not buried or boxed but in a constant
state of mending. collecting the past and rewriting it

in dreams that fade from memory
as easy as the current wearing stone.

from plum grew bee —
the self that chose themself,
that chose to live when facing the end.

the first self to know the responsibility
of carrying a life;
if only their own.

BEE LB is an array of letters, bound to impulse; a writer creating delicate connections. they have called any number of places home; currently, a single yellow wall in Michigan. they have been published in Revolute Lit, After the Pause, and Roanoke Review, among others. they are the 2022 winner of FOLIO’s Editor’s Prize for Poetry and the Bea Gonzalez Prize for Poetry. their portfolio can be found at