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.

Recreating You, The Enigma

You remind me of one of those optical illusions. You know the ones I’m talking about, where you turn your head and everything isn’t quite as certain as you thought it was and you wonder if the floor beneath your feet is actually at a perfectly 90 degree angle with the walls. There’s still a tinge of smoke in the back of my throat and it tastes like you talking in my ear. I don’t understand the pleasure of proximity but I do know that I liked the feel of your hands in my hair. I liked the quickening of your pulse in my ear. You were strangely comfortable and comfortably strange to me.

Every time I close my eyes to reconstruct the crime scene, fragments refuse to come together. You are pieces of a person, a rough beard, thick eyelashes, white flashes of teeth. Were your hands calloused? Were your eyes blue?

What is coming home to a stranger and enjoying it? What are arms wrapping and squeezing like they’ve done the same in multiple past lives? What is your last name again?

I do not think I will get a chance to figure you out. I do not think I want to.

Invade me

I am no castle,

ivy-crept walls erect

poisoned barbs at the base.

 

I am a dried lake,

rotted roots of

ancient trees

litter my bed, beautiful

and furious. I am no

fortress, but my flags

are flown full-mast.

 

I am no siren

but I’ll call to you,

destruction in my eyes.

 

I am so unsatisfied

with being satisfied

with the hello, how are you?

but I am more tired of

exposing my roots

to those who only

desire full-grown trees.

 

Come to me, invade me—

wrap your bitten fingernails

with my soft sinew.

 

Ask me questions that

make me remember being

a child, reading a cover-less

copy of Goosebumps

next to an exposed heater vent.

 

Do not settle for my favorite color

or food. Ask me if I’ve ever

loved strangers, in the moment,

and what I thought their kisses

should have tasted. Ask me

why my parent’s tombstones

are salmon-colored in dreams

that I wake from, dry-heaving

and sick with sadness.

 

Ask me about the callouses on my feet

about the tension in my elbows

ask me what it felt like

to have love die in your arms.

 

Craving invasion, inane questions

no longer an acceptable evasion

of intimacy.