Shaye Anderson

The Mission - Poem by Shaye Anderson

When I was nine years old I built a model of a mission.
Because I lived in California.
And all they have there are missions.
And the ocean.
My favorite part of my small architectural creation was the bird bath.
It had fake water and fake birds and it was fake beautiful.
Now I can’t help thinking maybe it stood for something else.
Some kind of symbolism through the mouth of a nine year old.
Through her hands. Or maybe it was just a giant ash tray full of foreshadowing or fate.
Depending on how you look at it.
Maybe it was just a plastic replica of a bird bath
I saw that time we went to the glass shop and
I broke a small hummingbird.
And told the truth.
And didn’t have to pay for it.
Even though the sign said “You break it. You buy it.”
And maybe that’s how it really works.
Honesty and all that. Or maybe it’s all shit at the bottom of an ashtray.
I just can’t decide which sounds less cliche.
Which applies more to my life.
Which I would really say with my lips and my mouth like
I wasn’t reading it off some warning label.
All I know is that I built that mission entirely from inside my head.
I’ve never been to a mission in my life.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Poem Edited: Wednesday, June 1, 2011

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