Mar 20

Skull Shells

My head is a hole
and you are the parasite. 
You have become the wind
that pulls, pulls and refuses to push.  

You are the sky that never opens
willingly into anyone's mouth, especially not those who wait.

There is a lone car on the empty highway
behind my house at midnight,
driving at full blast, blurring colors and sounds
onto the patient asphalt. 
I want to chase after it. 

No matter
how much salt I swallow
while holding my eyelids open
with my thumb
there is never enough to fill my stomach. 

We are all just layered words,
waiting to be cracked open
in the morning
like an egg spilled haphazardly on the kitchen tile. 

I refuse to be forgotten. 
I refuse to be squeezed down the bathtub drain like greywater. 

Mar 15

Still Searching Second Episode

Mar 14

Still Searching First Episode

Feb 11

If We All Refused to Swallow Darkness

Last night I was a bird. 

I remember flying over my best friend's room. 
I saw his eyes staring through his ceiling at me. 

I remember seeing my sister's face
and her hand waving, waving. 

I remember feeling split.
Like I was someone else,
as if I had never been anything other than a ghost. 

When I awoke I was sinking. 
My tangled sheets reminded me of ocean waves
or a pot boiling over. 

Who do I love? 
Who do I want to be?
Why do we crawl towards the light
like it is the only choice we have? 

When I was younger the world was my sky. 
I never fell asleep afraid of my own eyes. 

Why do we throw bricks
into our own abandoned buildings? 

I want to be someone who remembers
or laughs without trying
or both. 

I want to wake after a dream and know that I've flown. 
Feb 10

For my dad, when he was eight

Sometimes, especially on days when I wake before the sun, 
I cry and don't know why.
I think most people do occasionally. 

Last week I received a brown envelope
full of old passports. 
I stood at the countertop and opened it with my nail.

I flipped through the top few
and examined my grandfather's picture,
the stamps, the places he'd been, his signature on the line. 

And then, at the bottom of the stack, there was my father. 
I knew without reading the name. 

He had the same half-smile
and open eyes and way he tilted his head. 

And then I was crying
and I think I was happy. 
I remember smiling
and licking a tear from my top lip.

I couldn't stop looking at that tiny worn passport photo. 
I couldn't figure out how all that rain got inside my heart. 

Sometimes, I think when we're really desperate
we see ourselves in people we love. 

Jan 06

To the Boy Who Danced in the Cafeteria Before the Bell

I am often not who I think I am. 
When I was in 6th grade I counted birds
out of the bus window on my way to school. 
I dreamed about flying as much as falling from high places. 

Today the lunch lady smiled back
when I said: "thank you". 

Today, the music resonated from the cardboard speakers
like a tired bee
and became little more than my miracle. 

He is a flash of wild hair and flailing arms
and freedom that washes away down the white hallway,
flooding every imprisoned brick with electric orange. 

If he was a paint color his name would be "Awake". 

I wanted to join him. 
I wanted to find joy in simplicities,
like cafeteria music on a Monday afternoon.  

He probably used to count birds too. 
He has already become my lighthouse. 

Dec 31

When the seatbelt light turns off on the airplane and the sound reminds me of your smile

I can't count my eyelashes.
I'm nervous around his hands 
and arms and eyes.

The interstate illuminates 
our broken footpath 
and the way he stumbles up it,
cropped blond hair and glass-spider legs.

The sun sets early and rises even earlier.
The ocean can only be seen
when the light is low or split apart
or chewed on. 

The cat's claws are either 
between my eyes or toe nails. 

Sometimes, when it rains,
I wake in the night with my fingers in my mouth 
and my head twisted sideways,
window panes in my peripheral vision.  

It's hard to know the difference between
his lips and the bruise
of his whisper in the night:
"are you awake?".




 

Nov 20

6:05 pm, Tuesday: The Start of What Must Be the End

The vacant high school lobby
knows nothing but her index finger 
and the way it hurriedly traces the second hand
around the face of her watch.

She only needs more time. 
She only has the window glass 
as her ocean.

She calculates the jagged loops
of her echoing voice into exhaustion:
"How much sleep can a person get when they only know how not to sing?"

She is kerosene 
for the flame;
breaths for the ideas that start moments.
She is aware of her mute contribution.
She sits feebly
in the center of the lobby and closes her eyes
like the world no longer wants to see them. 
 

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