One Week

And you feel like a stranger in skin

Stretched thin over bent knees

There are cracks on your hand
You’ve noticed before
But you want to peel them apart
Tuck yourself in
And fall asleep.

You want to fall in love
With yourself
With your flaws
With your skin
With your ass
And forget your incessant
need to ask
Pretty boys and girls to notice you.

They don’t. And they won’t

And that should be fine
You should entwine your
heart with the love given
willingly. It should be enough.

But it’s not. Why is it not?

Why do you grow trees in your heart
Is it to climb the vines
Hide amongst the branches
And saw off your own limb?

There is a forest fire growing
Underneath a coffee cup
And it won’t be contained for much longer
It’ll E X P L O D E
in fat tears that can fit the galaxies
and the ocean within.

When you were younger
You’d cup your arms around your legs in the rain
call yourself a ship
And sail away.

But this time the current’s too strong
And the cracks are torn wide
And you’ve cut all the branches

It’s not a question of sink or swim
It’s how long do you hold your breath.

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Her

I’ve got no structure to the worlds

I visit when I touch her when her lips

graze mine, pink stained cheek flushed

like wine on the sheets of the beds we share

and the way I stare when she sleeps like

a dream I once woke up from, grasping for air

And I sometimes double tap my phone screen,

late at night hoping it’ll somehow wake her–

make her smile, closed eyed, and think of me.

Even when she’s wrapped in my arms and

the alarms are shut off before they begin,

she’s already running away, abstract art

I’m off to this late start and I stumble over

hurdles I had placed months ago,

pacing myself to breathe, and to

note the finish line quickly approaching.

Months turned to weeks

soon we’ll be faced with days

and precious hours to press our

faces against my apartment window and to

flash strangers and to

smile until our gums hurt and to

whisper, hair brushing fingers and to

lock our elbows in grocery store aisles and to

get ready and to

get set and to

go.

I’m afraid

arachnophobia helps me understand

why I’m afraid of the crawling sensation

on my skin but within?

I’m not equipped to handle

the sensation

of a tickling behind my elbows

and at the back of my throat.

I want to lose myself in

the elevated name that hides

a basement show

some almost adults throw

dreaming of bigger stages

and faceless crowds.

I want to nurse a drink or two

and forget who it is

that knocks on my cheek

asking to be let in and in again

My home is not tidy

it is in disarray, senseless.

It’s not that I fear you’ll mind the mess

it’s that I’m afraid you’ll look for the sense

in the whorls of clothes on my floor-

look for meaning behind the torn-up loose leaf

in my waste bin I haven’t emptied in a month.

I’m afraid that you’re looking into a mess

hoping for a clear space to call your own.

I’m afraid I’ve forgotten how to clean.

Resolutions

Last year, I got a cavity.

My dentist told me it’s because

I had too many sweets in my life.

Said with a sympathetic smile

that it’s tempting to indulge

but there are consequences

to decadence- that I should

consider cutting back.

Moving into the new year

I resolved to cut out said sweets

and keep my diet in check.

And I’d been good.

if you’d been watching,

I’d been so good.

There was the occasional

nighttime self-indulgence,

but nobody saw but me

(so it didn’t happen, right?)

But you test my resolve

and break my resolutions because you

oh you

you taste like peaches

and you’re warm on my tongue.

You’re candy and I can’t

help but indulge like an

overgrown kid in a candyshop

just for me, eyes widened

at the incredible display…

where do I even start?

It’s less of a question of

where to start and more of

how to stop?

How in the world do you

stop when you’ve got

the sweetest juice

on the tip of your fingers?

How do I refuse you when

you’re so good to me

and good for me and

damnit

why preach moderation

when I want to drink you

and waste away an afternoon
or two

watching the shadows move

from the blinds next to my bed

onto the curve of your back?

I have another resolution.

I resolve to consume

every moment with you

hungrily and greedily.

I resolve to taste the

pink of your lips and the

flush of your blood

just beneath your skin-

the heightened beating

of your chest.

I resolve to

clean my plate

every time and

worry about

the cavities later.

Bridge Jumping

Stand on a ledge with a

given length of rope and they’ll call you

daring

thrill-seeking

an adventurous soul.
How queer, the frayed knots

and turning stomachs that litter

the fine-line between feeling alive

and wanting to die.

It’s a spectacle, a sight

to behold in the daylight.

Your mother will try and steady

shaky camera angles and

mutter prayers she doesn’t

really believe she’ll need.
At night, it’s just you

and a half-burned butt

of some cigarette you

didn’t even smoke. It’s you

and the crossed-out lover’s

graffitti and still pliable gum,

left for some unsuspecting passerby.

Once, you took a trip to Maine

and walked up to the highest point

on the Eastern Seaboard.

Your family marveled

at the view and you contemplated

taking a running leap.

You ate lunch on a cliff

overlooking the Atlantic and tossed

your crumbs to see the splash.

You’ve read self-help articles about

burning bridges when you’re

trying to forget something you’d

have rather kept and

you understand why now.
The chance of jumping is far too great.

Circumstantial Morality

You are a balloon animal

thin skin full of hot breath and

someone else’s saliva as they

twist and contort you as they please.

 

You are passed through multiple hands

that wish to claim you as their own—

greasy fingerprints left in a

greedy maelstrom of desire.

 

You were built to please

to conform and to satisfy

to enter their dreams

in a breezy white summer dress

and lacy lingerie— they want it all.

 

And you can be it all

and you can do it all

and you can not question

if what you’re doing is as

wrong as you’ve been told it is

 

(and you can hope he doesn’t ask

too many questions.)

 

You are a balloon animal,

conform to the life you’ve

been blown, the state you’re in.

 

Do not question,

do not want for in wanting

for yourself, you will surely

 

burst.