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 methat 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 funeralI 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 kindergartenI sat alone on the playgroundbecause I was too afraid to talk to a
9 Word GoodbyeIn my headI still have conversations with you
GrandfatherLancaster Pennsylvania.July 3rd, 1978.Five pm.Eighty-two degrees outside.Driving sixty eight mph down Millersville roadpast miles of cornfieldsAnd everything is silent.Except the faint scream of wind escaping through the cracked driver side windowand the dull thud of tire treading on the newly paved road.He istrying to understand,while trying not to think,while thinking too much,while being silent.And suddenly itsMarch of 1968And Calley is calling“kill them all dead”.And he sees his daughter,her Agent Orange colored curlsclinging to her face like napalm sticks to melting bodies;her eyes burning brighter than Hanoi and Haiphong on December 18th, 1972.He begins to crybecause its stillJuly 3rd, 1978,Five pm, andeighty-two degrees outside.But in his mind it will always be March of 1968or December of 1972,because for him the war is still being fought;monks and Morrison still burning;Saigon is still screaminglike it was on April 30, 1975,but every
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 wavesand 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 houseso 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 cloudsgenerated enough electricity to light up your neighborhood.When his lightning cracked you’d count“one Mississippitwo Mississippi”to see how far away his hand was from your facebefore 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
EquinoxI feel a knot forming in my chestThe same cinnamon colored fabricOf the autumn season sweaterThat I wore todayAnd I don't feel butterfliesIn my stomachWhen you pass byOnly nervousnessKnitting its strandsAround my rib cageAt least I'll be warmBy the time the winter comes(hz)
ReleaseIn letting you go, I grew wings.
The Ocean InbetweenI’ve been told that “if you’re not losing friendsthen you’re not growing up.”I had blue hair when we first met.You told me that it looked like the ocean.It had slowly turned a faded sea foam greenby the time we became friends. I spent more time growing upin your house than my ownand you spent more time with my dad than yours.Everyone thought we were sisters. They called us by each other’s namesand we had the same eye color; like the pacific after a storm.Together, we were a million miles above sea level.On the first day of high school you told me about a dream you’d had.You said you felt sand between your toesand the ocean at your ankles.Then you met him.A typhoon and a monsoonhad met together in your rib cage and decided to dance;Katrina and sandy two stepping,slamming beats into your bonesYou told me that you loved him.I didn’t know how to tell youthat you were New Orleansand he was a rising sea level.Sophomore ye
Winter's HopeMy grandmother told methat my mother named me “Winter”because she didn’t really love me.And when people heard my name they’d shiveras if snow had been pressed into the skin of their backboneand they’d taste bitterness and coffee groundswhen they held it in their mouth too long.So my name become volatile.It became foreignand always sounded like “sorry”when it rolled off of other peoples tongues.I spent years of my lifenameless.My grandmother told me that my mother named me“Winter”because nobody loves it either.But my mother told methat she named me“Winter Hope”Because it translates into“Spring”.She told me that I heldbeginning and endswithin my name andnurtured life whenever I spoke it;there are flowers blooming from my taste budsand vines tangled through the gaps in my teeth.I am no longer afraid of the sound of my own name.
love poem from a pillar of saltthe words 'i love you'have always tasted like forbidden fruitan apple offered by a helpful serpent-sweet and fleeting butthe words 'i loved you'just taste offinality.i always thought that leaving you would be like leaving gomorrahthat i couldn't help looking backand when i did i'd feel an ocean dry itself beneath my skinbut this is so much quieterand so much worse.my knuckles taste of blood,not salt.there is no new testament herejust old testament firejust lot's wife standing on a forgotten hillrocksalt freezing her outstretched handswatching her hometown burn below her.there is no forgiveness herejust mutual lonelinessjust a lost religion and a broken girlfar too tired to play pretendwatching you fall apart behind me.
LatreuophobiaI wash off sick-sweet orange lipstick in front of a mirror as dusty as gothic romances. It tastes like oblivion, that is to say, like nothing my tongue can detect.The door opens with a creak no private restroom could emulate. Some chick with blue bobbed hair and smeared eyeliner. I looked like that once. Ten years ago.Getting the beer out of my hair is harder. Some men just can't take it when I'd rather they not kiss my feet or call me an angel or-“Dayum girl, you look like a goddess.” I gulp, taste of acid.
leap through eternityi will sink my teeth into a supernovato let the stardust andcosmosslide down my parched throat andwash over my intestines,like a pebbledrowning in the sound--
spider song, purple ladyshe carrieda pair of scissorsin her purse so she couldcut the filter off her cigarettebefore she smoked it.she sucked in hercheeks and pursed herlips when she had to bepatient for anything.'how do youstay so thin?' i askedshe gathered her braceletsat her wrists and they clinkedlike wine glasses, like the twinkleof her smile, 'cigarettes and ritalin,'she said. 'a steady diet of cigarettes and ritalin.'she had smallhands that were notfeminine. her fingerswere short and her palmswere wide.everything abouther was purple. evenher eyes. they were brown.she didn't wearlipstick. only gloss.stinking, pink, and sticky.don't go too near, you'll endup with your lips stuck and thenshe'll eat you. you'll love it.i asked whyshe didn't justcut the filters offall at once, all at onceat home and she said, 'honeyit's wednesday, and i've barelymade it past monday yet.' snip,flick, fzzz. alright, i said, you knowyou're one hell of a girl and you'realright, i said.
Bits of Nothing 61On paper you're perfect.Isn't it a shame the world isn't made of origami?
Let Your Daughter Be a PirateLet your daughter be a pirateif she asks for a wooden swordhelp her build her ship from empty boxesand sail the vast backyardbecause a box doesn’t onlyhave to store dead dreamsand she is so much morethan just a vessel.Let your daughter be Robin Hood,if she wants to be an anarchist,a hero, a rebel, a rogue,give her bows, and arrows,and arrogance,let her fight for the plight of poorer folkbecause Robin isn’t just a boy’s name.Let your daughter be a princesslocked in a tower so highlet her be her own prince,don’t tell her to wait for a hundred years,let her swing from her own hairand grasp her own freedom.Let your daughter be whatever she wantsespecially when she’s youngand you’ll be enamoured bythe woman she becomes.
ExpirationWith you I always feel like I’mtrying to break in the wrong size of shoes.Sometimes I sit and stewover how you’re seventeen andyou think I’m a princess the trapped-in-a-tower kind and how you wear suits and talk about politicsand think you know the world.My throat interrupts with an affronted gurgling soundsometimes when I think about you, and howyou deal out advice where it just isn’t called foryou quote science-fiction to justify warand you’re seventeen years old and you think I’m a princessand you just have no blooming idea.Darling, one of these days I will tell you my mindBut until then we’ll never fit right.In truthI’m afraid –that even after that day you’ll still be trimmed hedges and
you should be home by nowlast tuesday the house took my hand & said,it's more of a hurricane than a firesince he broke in & burnedmy curtainsmy floorsmy bridgesmy selfbut sometimes I see her with a lighter& she finishes what he didn't do(I think she's afraidof settling in,being quiet)but last tuesday I realized that she kept the lights onto frighten away the bridges & the peopleso no one will come inside& smash the teacups, steal the pipesbecause since he burnt her beds outno one lives there anymore
Still Oxidizinglast nighti read theobituariesand when i sawyour name wasn't deaddecaying or rustingrotting in a forestmingling with a pile ofashes, i realizedyou really couldlive without me
Everything You BorrowedOn Sunday afternoon,after exiting the church,you plucked the sun from the skyand hid it in your palmsso that when I held your handsthey would no longer be cold.When Monday night arrivedyou snatched every single starand used my tears to makea necklace.Tuesday's empty dawn shonethrough the cracks of the door--you stole the promise of whatcould never beand draped it around my shoulders.After Wednesday's twilight passed,you grabbed the cloudsand wove a tapestry of liesthat I hung on the wallsof my prison.Thursday crept through uson silent tiptoes,waiting for us to take notice--instead, we merely waitedfor midnight to come.The dusk of Friday wanedwhile you stripped it of its sorrowsand sewed them into my skin.When Saturday cameyou tried to steal the moon;I watched as you stood on your tombstoneand stretched to reach it.You fell, then--fell, broke your neck,and landed six feet under.I couldn't cry afterwards,for you had taken my agonyand washed it out to
the science of us.you told me once that a strike of lightningis five times hotter than the surface of the sun.and so if i am the skythen you are the storm,flawlessly constructed andelaborately designed to strike mewhen i'm broken.except lightning never strikesthe same place twice,and your fist has struckthe flesh above my cheekbonemore times than i can count.---"the earth is number two,and heaven is number three,"you told me once, as you slippedyour hand beneath my skirt.your other hand was on the wheel,guiding us through the storm."—because the earth was created first,"you would tell me,although i didn't wantto believe it."heaven was just an afterthought."your hand was warm,and your touch was electric.i did nothing as you caressedmy inner thigh, and i stood stillas you reached for more.i allowed you.i had no choice.the rain fell on the windshieldlike a map of confused roadsleading nowhere,and i thought quietly to myselfas our silence burned the bridges.you neve
To My Biology TextbookOn page 159 of my biology textbook, it reads,“...cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells”as though that could explain everything,and I thought it did for a time.But my textbook never warned methat his skin would paleto a point where I could seethe blue freight trainscarrying eighteen pillsthroughout his frail body.My textbook never warned methat his watery irises would freeze over,that he would hurl insults like knives,and that he would clench his jawas tightly as his fist clenched his wine glassbecause the only person to blame is himself,and he can’t swallow that as easilyas he can the olives in his martinis.And my textbook never warned methat it would be this difficult to breathebecause of my acute awarenessthat his breaths are limited,and that there would be nothing I could dobut soldier on searching for that silver liningclinging to these foreboding thunderheads.
With Love, AprilDarling,I thought I saw you on the evening train today. Your hair was flowing, red and fiery like it normally was. Except it had a different shine to it this time like you had moved on – like you weren’t looking back…except you did look over your shoulder – a glance – to adjust the strap that was slipping off. It… wasn’t you, though. The smile cascaded to a frown and I turned to look at someone else’s stranger.Baby,I considered burning the rest of your clothes your mother didn’t ask for (I couldn’t bring myself to do it). I sat in the vintage yellow seats of our kitchen instead, drinking strawberry tea out of your chipped green cocoa mug and staring at the starfish above the window in place of your mother. I considered shattering the cup, since she didn't ask for it either. I couldn't bring myself to do it. She didn’t know what she was doing. if she had, she would’ve taken all of you from me. I kno
Just RightThey called me The White Whale.I dreamed of carving off my blubber,perhaps learning to breathefor minutes at a timeso I could sing,because whales are elusive.The ocean is vast. I could have livedwithout another pinch, another poke, anotherhe only loves you for your tits. Get a tan,go for a jog, are you gonna eator assimilate?Their harpoons were steady.They had no remorse, a close friend told me,"I just want you to be healthy." She braided my hair,complimented the color, my eyes a drizzle,said there was a mermaid hiding in my shape,I started smoking the next day.I used to pace from the cabinetto the basement with armfuls of confections, I hid behind our yellow shed and guzzledblack coffee, nicotine, green tea, THC,with giddiness turned vibrant,all colors shook,the first person to noticesaid he didn't know I could look so good.I found my cheekbones, polished my scales,glittered and flitted and flirted and swam in schools of gaping grou
I Belong To You I hate rain. Not really, I love it. Just not when the most beautiful, perfect, wonderful, perfect, comfortable, waterproof, perfect coat in existence has been savagely butchered by my so-called friend’s Dalmatian. Every slap of rain on my naked arms is a stinging reminder of the irreparable hole in my wardrobe. Some people might try to fill the void with lesser coats but I can’t bring myself to betray Valentino, even after her death. Instead my slippery arms grapple with each other in wet shock as I stumble to the op shop, clinging to one last thread of hope. I know in my deadened heart that I’ll never have another coat like her. Yet here I am, blundering through the elements in my vain search for the acceptance and warmth I found wrapped in Valentino’s woollen sleeves. Thud. My body slams into the door, making the ‘open’ sign quiver and the bells tinkle in offense. I fight for entry, the door’s assault doubled by the stale funk of
Human NatureCrooked trees still reach for sun.
Endorsed By The Surgeon General.She was like cigarettes.She took his breathaway,and filled his lungs with promisesthat evaporated likesmoke.
The Old God, Savitrॐ भूर्भुव: स्व: तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं ।भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि, धीयो यो न: प्रचोदयात् ।।I.The wind blew sand into your nonchalant soul,and your heart coughed. I entered the circleat night, and I was consumed by fire. I did notknow of you then. I have fractured myself intoa thousand souls: but they are all whole, for I didsee you in my absence. Yet you? - youwere sailing, and your head wasfull of water light.II.I was significant when your mother poured out waterin a copper pot from a balcony; water, whichcaught and held the moon, and then spilled overwith a quiet radiance. You wondered whetherthe moon l
Muscle MemorySix Word Story:Loving you has become muscle memory.(hz)
I don't know how to train
my heart to keep a steady
rhythm when I hear your name.