You look at me and think
I have no experience;
and it’s true that I have never done this one precise thing you need me to do
but I’ve never met
(not once, in six half-dozen years)
a thing I couldn’t do,
and that is my experience.
Tell me, which experience shall I share?
I can tell you about the experience
of leaving a cult I hadn’t joined,
or the experience of my spouse coming out as trans
in Amish country,
or the experience of cooking my four younger siblings breakfast
at the age of seven.
I can tell you about the terrifying day
my mother got so angry she smashed her favorite mug against the wall
or stomped on her glasses
or threw the baby’s walker across the house
or stormed out the front door and drove away
and how I smiled at her and soothed her and apologized
and became her confidant
and still failed to protect my brothers and sisters from the abuse.
I can tell you about losing my entire worldview
and rebuilding it breath to breath,
and how I would never wish that terror on my worst enemies -
the black nothingness of having no moorings -
but I pray it for my dearest friends.
I can tell you why the answers don’t matter;
the answers aren’t important, it’s the questions you need to pay attention to,
and when you say experience you mean, what answers can you give me?
But I don’t bring answers, only better questions
and if you took a chance on me you would never regret it, not for any good reason,
(that is also my experience),
but there it is: you are asking bad questions
and I cannot give the answers you seek.