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You've Endured So Many Storms That You Became OneYou have endured so many storms that you became one.
Your mother was a tsunami.
Her emotions came in waves
and crashed down on you like
“this is all your fault”.
Her high-tide flooded your basement.
There’s water damage in your roots.
She taught you how to swim when you were five years old,
but somehow you’ve been drowning for seventeen years.
You once told me that you hid all the knives in your house
so that the waves wouldn’t carry them away.
Your father was a thunderstorm.
His voice shook your house so much,
I could have almost sworn that you lived by train tracks.
His thought clouds
generated enough electricity to light up your neighborhood.
When his lightning cracked you’d count
to see how far away his hand was from your face
before the friction in his bones was too much for him to bear.
You have endured so many storms that you became one.
You are an earthquake,
and my heart is your San Andreas Fault
Fireflies Don't Leave Burn MarksCertain boys used to press their fingertips into my skin as if they were cigarette butts and I was an ashtray. They stamped out their left over guilt that wouldn’t burn away and grounded it into my skin so that when it rains, I smell smoke and their brand of cologne. I have burn marks on the insides of my palms from when they held my hands with bonfires between theirs. I have scars on the inside of my mouth from where they left their candles burning as if I was a faulty altar. They picked flowers from every garden my body grew and left them at the feet of some makeshift effigy as if they had given me a gift. I have let people ruin me. They burned me to the ground like Rome and called my ashes beautiful ruins.
“I have scars on my hands from touching certain people”. But you told me that you don’t really like Salinger all that much even though you talk like Holden Caulfield. When I think about you, I don’t feel cigarette burns on my skin or smoke being
AnxietyWhen I was four I decided that I wanted to be an astronaut.
My grandfather died when I was five and I didn’t know what death meant yet,
so I sat on my mother’s lap on the front porch while she explained to me
that death was just another word for the way that the seasons move.
I pictured my grandfather at church like on Sunday mornings.
He hugged me and said “goodbye” and it didn’t feel like I was losing him.
He didn’t say goodbye at the funeral.
The drunk driver never said “sorry” to my grandmother.
I stood in my green dress and waited for that word for twelve years.
On the drive home from the funeral
I just kept thinking “forever and ever and ever and ever”
until I stopped breathing and started falling.
When I was four I wanted to be an astronaut.
When I was five I got vertigo from jumping rope on the pavement.
I pulled out my hair when I went to kindergarten
I sat alone on the playground
because I was too afraid to talk to a
Winter's HopeMy grandmother told me
that my mother named me “Winter”
because she didn’t really love me.
And when people heard my name they’d shiver
as if snow had been pressed into the skin of their backbone
and they’d taste bitterness and coffee grounds
when they held it in their mouth too long.
So my name become volatile.
It became foreign
and always sounded like “sorry”
when it rolled off of other peoples tongues.
I spent years of my life
My grandmother told me that my mother named me
because nobody loves it either.
But my mother told me
that she named me
Because it translates into
She told me that I held
beginning and ends
within my name and
nurtured life whenever I spoke it;
there are flowers blooming from my taste buds
and vines tangled through the gaps in my teeth.
I am no longer afraid of the sound of my own name.
WeightlessThere are cinder-blocks tied to the corners of my mouth when I smile.
There are a thousand things I’ve never said
pasted to the back of my throat when I speak.
It feels like I have the entire ocean
inside of my stomach
and an anchor inside of my chest.
I’m floating in outer space;
and there is
I have tick marks
clawed into the side of my arms
for every day I have felt this way.
I’m running out of room.
You and Me and ContradictionsYou make me want to:
laugh and scream,
smile and cry,
dance and break every coffee mug I own,
smell flowers and lock myself in my room,
sing and sleep.
You make me feel:
you make me feel:
You make me:
confused when I think about you,
but when I look at you
I feel like:
everything is exactly the way it should be.
SplintersI. There are pieces of you that I am still pulling out of my heart like splinters.
II. Under blankets made of the night sky hung over the blue ridge and under fingertips with skin like mountains.
III. You are a cancer. Your star sign has my body’s white blood cells frantic.
IV. If I destroyed you, I would destroy myself too.
V. My body is killing pieces of itself just to get to the pieces of you.
VI. There are pieces of you that I am still pulling out of my heart like splinters that have been healed over by skin and time and the absence of you.
Guide MeThe shadows of my past, like trembling fingers, strum the song of warfare with my heartstrings and piano-key-ribs.
The ghosts of empty faces, empty shells, waltz to the tune of my miseries.
The war raging inside my head, like the waves of an ocean crashing against the sides of skull, cause me to drown in insecurities so deep within my tired vessel.
I am tired of this warfare.
I am tired of playing the role of some valiant soldier.
I am dimming under the power of the shadows, of the ghosts, of the war inside me –
And my only beacon is you, dear mother.
When the fire rages on, and the music is gone, I will always look to you for guidance – and you will guide me to safety, always ending the war within me.
Six lessons on love.One. Sometimes love will move so slowly
you will stop waiting for its arrival. You will become an
open bar and you will be drained and drained until one
day you open the door to let last night out and love has
left a calling card on the doormat.
Be patient. Let love come to you piece by piece
until you are full to the brim with it.
Two. Some days it will feel
like love has come for you with a wildfire
at its heels. Let it come; you were
meant to burn brighter than any sun or
star we care to name.
Three. Growing back after burning down
is a sign to leave old loves behind. Let them
go kindly. Wrap them up in tissue paper and
ribbon and give them a kiss goodbye. Be gentle but
Do not use maybe. Do not look back.
Four. Love can hurt and you will let it
because you are in love. It will spit venom and
throw fists until you stand up and throw
Be strong, letting love go is not
Five. Love will sometimes be too much.
It will let y
What stars doI’m not writing this to say goodbye, I’m writing this to say so long for now, because goodbye is so final and what’s really final in this world? Isn’t there some cosmic rule that says you can’t say goodbye to someone and never see them again? I’m sure there is. Because whenever we try to finalize things ourselves the stars align themselves in opposition, just to put us in our place. Just to remind us that the future is unknowable and unattainable and we shouldn’t try to put reigns on it.
So, so long for now. That’s pretty final too if you stop to think about it. It presupposes that I won’t see you now, and now is just as unknowable and unattainable as the future because at any second you could walk through my door and I’d see you. You could apologize and say “let’s start over” and every molecule in me would scream no but I would say yes, and the stars would doom us all over again because that’s what sta
my bones awashed on the shorejonah was a man made up of
salt and stone and pieces
of driftwood he found carved with
hearts and letters of teenage boys'
and girls' names. he was
more than his chicken leg bones and
sagging skin, and the neighborhood
kids thought he was the
ghost of ol' samson, but he was just
ninety-eight and pushing it.
jonah was a man who liked
to wear his mother's curtains as clothes
and used moth-eaten tablecloths
as blankets during the chilly nights.
he had this kind of gleam in his
old, dull gray eyes. he thought he'd
build himself a boat and
set it on the ocean and maybe he would
find someone out there.
jonah didn't quite know who he was, yet.
the neighborhood wives that
brought him home-cooked dishes in big
pans to eat always told him
that he was no longer sane.
but jonah said that sometimes
sanity had less to do with the mind and
more to do with the people.
and on a warm tuesday,
he draped his mother's old tablecloth
around his shoulders and
bundled up in a curtain, left h
parsleyI felt guilty about it --
typing instead of writing, I mean,
and there was something else
something I tried to type out
before I couldn't
it was about how
two people lost something
no, not lost,
it was taken, I suppose
although they had no choice
sometime past 0800
I wrote about how she remembered
wearing a blue gown;
it tied at the front
and she had to wear the silliest shoes
they kept falling off
there were other girls in the waiting room,
one was alone and had
pretty cheeks and white hair
but the other girl -
the one with the silly shoes,
she saw the circle on the screen a second time,
and he had to wait outside;
she cried in front of the surgeon
who didn't hold her hand,
maybe he was used to it
there was more waiting -
another lady told the girl
how she felt numb,
but she had cried a lot, before
something about allergies and
waking up after twelve minutes;
the surgeon was there,
and didn't smile
she woke up in a chair,
smothered in blankets
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