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I am the Exotic One

Sophie Rabb

something about / javelinas and jackrabbits / growing up in your backyard / secret trails / connected to a mountain / scorpions / spiky plants / I did not realize / the sun meets the horizon / the silhouette of an old cactus / some may consider / cotton candy skies / queso smothered corn / far away / a sweet sip of imported water / when I am lucky / people call me Arizona / you see things / a spiny pot garden / a bull’s bony head / the one-legged roadrunner / maybe in a dream / or when I leave / the desert

/ my home /

I am never thirsty / no parking lot parties / pale all year long / dark grey skies /
no spikes / no swimming pools / no valleys
I have learned / the boundaries / my place
— Sophie Rabb

Wet Paper

Sophie Rabb

The truth soaked through
your scroll of unnecessary facts,
You placed the drenched parchment on a metal grate
and hope for the sentences to dry attached.

I’m going to be honest,
she doesn’t care about the things you write.
Ink will bleed through your paper
and change the words you tried to unite.

That’s the thing about water,
she mainly comes in peace -
But if try to stop her,
she’s a force you cannot beat.

— Sophie Rabb

Paper and Stones

Sophie Rabb

As I sit in a cafe in the central plaza of Brussels, I try to imagine what it was like in its peak, when all these gold laced buildings were utilized for their original purposes.
A connoisseur of empathy, I close my eyes. I use images I saw at a museum the other day to visualize being born as a daughter of a filthy rich Flemish couple. I tried to imagine waking up, opening the windows, and welcoming a town hall meeting upon my day, or watching as people come to pick up their biweekly loaf of bread. These diamond glossed women carried out their lives only 30 feet above the spot I’m sitting in now.
I am trying to seriously grasp the feeling that I, or anyone, could consider it truthful that they deserved to own that much gold.
I cannot fathom holding such an elite status.

I don’t really need to pull myself that far back in time to feel such disbelief though. Even today, I cannot imagine owning a Prada purse, or having someone slip a diamond ring the size of a rock onto my finger.
First of all, my parents friends used to hide their valuables when I came over. Not because they thought I would steal them, but because I would probably break them. Despite that, I cannot even imagine thinking I deserve anything supposedly worth so much.

I don’t even desire these material goods, but I know how exciting it is when you find red Dr. Marten boots at a Goodwill for only $25.
And as I sit here today in the heart of Brussels, I am glad; I am seated in front of yet another palace turned into a museum over time. Maybe one day, a girl thirty years younger than me, hunting for interview clothing at a women’s resource center, will find a pair of Gucci pants that I used to own.
— Sophie Rabb

Adidas are too Comfortable

Sophie Rabb

I wanted my butt to beg for softer cushions on all these bus rides. 
I wanted to hiss at all these slimy men as they pointed at their lips, asking me to smile when I walk by. 
I wanted to wear this outfit for the ninth time in a row, without going through a single wash. 
I asked to wake up with itchy skin, to run down the stairs and yell at the receptionist for all the nocturnal rice-sized critters sleeping under my bed.
I asked to get stuck in the rain when we had no place to stay and the train station was closed during the sleepiest hours of the day.
I asked for these painfully quiet walks with my autistic little brother in all of these city parks; we can’t afford anything else.

I fear one day I’ll wake up, stuck to my bed, married to thoughts I met twenty years before. 
I am scared that if I stop carrying my feet forward, no matter how much they hurt, they will become so heavy I cannot march against all these ugly societal storms. 

Sometimes, I pick up the pace of my movement and I start to run. And I don’t mean jogging in Nike sweatpants around Central Park. I mean, breaking further away from my parents’ roots. I mean, sprinting with a sprain in my ankle even if it gets infected. I mean, sprouting out of the pond I was born in, trying not to be picked up and carried away to another one. 

This past year, my parents got me Adidas sneakers for Christmas. They look so clean and so comfortable, but I cannot wear them.
— Sophie Rabb