you could be right up against my ear, a wall of sound that tells me everything that lays beyond your pulse, and still i would feel as though you weren’t close enough. sometimes i cannot stand the thought of everyone stuck inside their own bodies, because you could send dozens of letters down daisy chains of people and never get the same words out. all i’ve ever done is watch for entries and exits, and maybe place bets on who’s coming back for the second act. people get lost too easily after they’ve left. on wikipedia, there is list of individuals who have lived at airports for more than one week. at the end of the page, it tells me to “see also, statelessness,” and i think it would not be so bad, to live like that. at least inside airports, they have signs telling everyone where they are and where they ought to be. it is a space built to house the displaced, a rest stop where we wait for the next. in everything else, we are left groping through the dark, tripping over people’s breaths and trying so hard to keep our own contained. we are walls of sound lined up in parallel, everyone hearing each other all at once, and not one able to do anything about it.
I am messy. My thoughts are dirty lingerie strewn across frowning bed sheets. I’ve lost metaphors in the middle of subway stations, and there are daydreams of mine spray-painted on the sides of buildings nobody looks at anymore. I’ve populated an entire town with disposable words. My home is a rest stop where missing things go before they disappear.
They tell me this is a hoarder heart. Every chamber is a landfill. My doctor thinks I am a heart attack waiting to happen. I tell him it is only a side effect to an addiction, and clearing you from my system all at once would probably kill me anyway. I could not say how you happened. I only know how it ends.
There are still stories of us, dried kisses pressed between books and first fights crumpled like paper fists, lingering like old news beside the door. They’ve been there for weeks—I’ve forgotten which day the garbage man comes. I wish I could cut myself out of my skin and let him take that too. I live in an abandoned house. My hands have not been washed in weeks; layers of grime cling to palms you once held.
she collected scars the way people collected sea glass, or poems, or kisses—beautiful things tucked like love letters beneath origami skin, under the fold of a knuckle, the crease of an eyebrow, the bitten piece of your dimpled knees.
you tell me you will never leave,
but i do not believe in infinities.
there is an expiration date to your words,
and i am so afraid of the day
you toss your promises into the trash and leave
me sifting through the landfills of spent breath
for even so much as a skeleton
of that rotten hope.
there is a waste land in my chest.
i can no longer see where the decay
ends and my body begins. maybe,
Because there is something about the way the bone-white
darkness stretches across your wrinkled sheets, as if it were
meeting the curves and indents of your stolen outline for the first time.
Because it reads the story of your leaving like it is Braille, and every
rise and fall etched across those covers is nothing more
than a retelling of old news. Because it makes perfect sense
when it is laid out against the light of this blanched night.
Because the bed looks stripped even though it is still full of you—
even though there is nothing missing from it except for you.
Because it holds your form better than I ever could.
my hands have dried
to the point
where they are branches
on a skeleton tree.
is cracked bark and split
knuckles. i look like a fight,
my fingers play the massacre
and the bloodshed
is all my own.
i used to think
that i could cover
up your wrongs
with lines of red ink
shaped like “love, love”
every time, as if cursive
the percentage of our failures
matter a little bit less.
but i remember
a midnight made for sugared
stars and cold walks, instead
blacked out and buried
under the image of a girl
embracing the stop sign
at the end of your street (the first
to learn the weight
of your indifference),
because it was
the only thing keeping
her from running
out of the arms she
used to call safety—
she wanted the safety off
her fingers have played
and the red
on her palms read
bleeding from them.
her hands are dead limbs
falling out of
do i wait until it is at its worst, then push it sharp and fast,
because the bigger they are, the harder they
or do i hold it close, play like love ‘til the lone hours of the night
and tiptoe soft, soft away when it is resting, quiet and paper-fine
against my rib cage, when most of me is cloud cover and warm
tea and echoes in my head?
when it is sitting at its least cruel—is this when i start running?
or should i face it, greet it in all my singular reflections, look it
in the eye and watch it dissolve into my skin? should i wait
for my heart to consume it the way drainpipes swallow water? will it
be gone for good, once it is dispersed through the marrow and the
blood, diluted to obscurity? will i feel it like needles or dust,
numbness or nothing?
will it be stuck on me, no matter what i do? will it stay
—until i lose me too?
the skin beneath my eyes is smudged black, and my head
is full of sand. my lips are torn and bitten dry. they still
tremble from the aftermath of a sob i never let loose. my body
is a bruise in the shape of your hands.
and i feel nothing at all.
all this time together, and still
nothing learned but sadness.
at first, i swallowed all my confessions
to save myself from disappointment.
but they say too much of anything is bad,
and it only takes one more
to cross the line.