life is messy and i don’t enjoy it. every day,
another wine glass. french names too shy to
leave my tongue until forced. meanwhile,
i am 22 and washing behind the ears seems more
and more a cultivated lifestyle.
you, who still vacuum under the bed, consider the way
the days swell and fatten under the spring sun.
in the dream i am walking through the field by our childhood
home where corn used to grow some summers
ago. wondering as i go, fingers just
grazing the uncultivated grass–if wildflowers
have found their way here, if the dirt knows it can make
something of the dead, if the dead know the field does not
know want even as it wants. in the d…[Read more]
leaving girlhood is not yet knowing to look back
taught the bite of desire,
someone’s blunt teeth, gnawing, and the pain is
newness, you think this is love
a ring of bruises around the neck, you think
the wet heat of your childish name
what stays, is molded
folded in half on a thursday night, breathing deep. remembering the feelings you’ve lost (even that feeling of loss). times when all goodness meant you hadn’t yet thought to make contingency plans. your lungs are bigger now.
childhood: the corner of the local library, painted to look like the sea, the lighthouse column a solitary rising gia…[Read more]
each day is a struggle. the sun will not wake with me.
lonely street lamps exhale steam through
a second floor window.
i breathe it in like second-hand smoke, let it fill me
until i become a pile of ashes
rising to the ceiling.
“don’t you have anything to fight for?” you say.
i nod yes. “myself”, i say, but the one skewered
on the…[Read more]
a refraction of light across the ceiling
smooth like prayers in a language you
don’t know how to speak.
laying in the dark, hands still on your chest
pull loose threads until they give.
breathe it in, the taste of tears
again in your saliva.
(you could be looking at stars.
these are your stars.)
black tar rushes up my throat again.
i shut my teeth, but it leaks. it leaks, it leaks,
and my white dress, the one my mother gave me
when i once made her proud–
i feel the silk stick to my skin.
i can’t think. the room is stifling
with the quiet of your arrival. it feels like loss.
my blackened smile is something hideous that you…[Read more]
my childhood was preparation for life without a father.
not in the way a hand clenches a photograph, or even
the tears product of divorce.
i don’t mean loss.
but i am quiet now. i sleep quiet, speak quiet, cry quiet;
quiet burrowed in the pit of my stomach
and there was never anyone
to coax it out.
when i was young, sometimes i’d walk…[Read more]
every day we lived in some kind of fever,
bodies thrown against lockers
drawing blood with
history classes spent watching
taped documentaries–the worn faces
of american heroes, their stories, their sorrows,
will this be
high school wasn’t real life
and it didn’t do a damn thing
you’ve taken to filling your bed with flowers, the colors and scent
more alive than i could ever stomach.
at night, the sheets fold around you like the lining of a casket.
my eyes are sinking into my skull. my bones
sinking through the mattress, marrow leaking smooth.
i fear gravity will soon find my body…[Read more]
i am reminded of a long necked woman with a rigid spine
attending the opera alone.
of dying embers
one september night. you cradled them in cold palms,
speckled burns like a moth’s wing. only enough
to feel, a kiss
brushed faint across cheekbones.
you see, i have been running, always,
ever since we learned the game of cops…[Read more]
this is not a war. we are both just scared
of fading away.
the way you look at this moment is
pinched face and twisted mouth.
your eyes slide to mine down the length of your nose
and my head aches.
without noticing, i’ve grown into a copy of you, down to
we sleep still under heavy silence. the air…[Read more]
you were the type to sleep always facing the wall. i held my hands to my mouth, breathing in measurements. i sought stillness over the rushing in my ears.
(once upon a time there was a girl who worried about saying “good night” with too little feeling.
then she realized she was the only one who cared.)
i say i don’t feel beautiful anymore.
i’ve forgotten how, the more i grow
out of this skin.
(i shed it at night
when no one’s looking.)
i draw your face in
people think i am in love with you.
i say i don’t feel beautiful anymore
and i know you
and i know your kindliness
and i know you will say: