the center of my chest ticks.
I have a heart
and didn’t have to ask the man
behind the curtain for it.
some don’t see it
as they should.
or worse yet
some do and take advantage.
I smoke too much
and cuss too much.
we all have our vices
at least mine only hurt myself.
speaking of which,
the secrets you keep
will bring an undoing of sorts.
we all have them.
ask yourself, are they worth it?
my answer is no.
I drink coffee for breakfast and lunch.
I should be thin by now.
if I were would I be pretty enough?
some think I’m beautiful
and say so.
I smile and say thank you.
I tuck their words into my pockets
for a day when
I can’t look at myself
in the mirror.
these hips are too large for my taste,
they serve no purpose now.
only flesh to grab onto.
and that feels like a knife,
cutting slowly, so the blood has time to clot.
the wounds will be opened again
when I least expect it.
above all, I have failed myself,
and that’s on you too.
I wasn’t bred to bleed, and you keep scratching at the door,
like a stray cat,
desperate to be anything but
what you are,
did your fingers quiver like mine?
hands never quite steady,
I soak up the sun and smoke,
turn them into a moment of feeling
other than panic.
my eyes can cross, as can my heart,
but you don’t know me from anyone else.
and don’t think you do.
I question too much at times.
find the answers buried in the sand
on a beach I have yet to cross.
the soles of my feet burn, but there’s healing in the pain.
and I need it. God, how I need it.
do you remember the moment you caved?
I hold the air in, count to three,
let go and repeat,
because it’s the only thing I can do
to stop myself
from leaving this world
just like you.
it comes spilling out, runs through my fingers,
onto the counter, and down the drain.
/ he can’t hurt me anymore / but it still does / even after six years /
a sinking in the stomach. building up on the edge of my tongue. his sucker punch. I could shred him to tatters with the pieces he made of me.
used and dirty you motherfucker, I’d stab you to death if you ever tried it again /
what of his guilt? the iron claws he used,
the clench of fire he held against my wrist. his weight I had helped him carry, [all those years], forced on me. he knows nothing of his guilt. absolution granted without recognition of his wrong.
/ I fought hard / with fists / with words / I wish I could say I didn’t beg / but I did /
a survivor. another word to be branded with. and yet,
he won’t ever be known or see himself
as a rapist,
which is exactly what he is.
bones made of glass. I shatter at the slightest touch.
a gust of wind. a towel being pressed gently to skin.
pain. always. pain.
[ please, don’t touch. ]
the rain comes and I feel each drop.
every cell screams. I cannot stop the rain.
I take the pills three times a day.
[ never more than that, although some days I wish I could. ]
I rock at night. it helps my legs, but causes other hurt.
I pray. and pray. my eyes closed tight.
face turned towards the pillow.
not wanting to cry out.
[ there has to be an end to this, somehow. ]
he said, he said. eyes shifted to the left, I saw. stored it away for moments like these.
think of your father saying:
I don’t love you.
remember the cliff. hanging, your mother pleading, crying. and he laughed at that. your mother raped. he said it was her fault. he would blame you for your rape too, you know?
don’t think of the emptiness. what was. the missing. images. what if?
it’s so quiet. so quiet. remember the shouting. these walls could have been painted with your blood. he had it in him. you saw it, remember? it was his eyes. eyes don’t lie, but if they try, they tell at the same time.
hush. stop. hush, now.
but there are names like “thunder thighs” ringing in my ears.
ringing. a constant ringing.
“whore. whore. whore. you’ll get what you deserve.”
please, stop. God, please, turn it off.
“it didn’t mean anything.”
“I miss you, some days it’s really bad.”
“you’ll never be a successful writer.”
“you’re my everything.”
“you are nothing without me. you can’t survive on your own.“
“you meant nothing.”
doubt. belief. doubt. belief.
the cycle incomplete. back to the beginning.]
I take what is left in my hands, pour it into the cracks. these things, all in the past, can be mended by letting them go.
[ afternoon. she sits with the phone in her hand, covers the
mouthpiece, says: I’ll be right with you.
wait. wait. wait.
I bite my lips, my hands moving constantly. to
hips, to breasts, to stomach, to sides.
they grasp stillness, then fumble.
She says words like
She wears her eyeliner like I do.
She looks young. She says everything is fine. She says, see???
want to blacken both of her eyes,
[ afternoon. it is hot, but I keep the windows up and the air
conditioning off. I could be chain smoking. a cylinder of comfort pressed
between my lips.
first drag, no comfort. second drag, fear. third drag, guilt. fourth drag,
there is no fifth. it burns somewhere on the side of the road where I left it. I smoke when I get home. I feel sick. ]
I open my mouth and everything
comes out wrong.
my heart intends one thing,
but it is not measured so.
the clouds start rolling in.
the ground vast and dry.
I am heavy and full with the unknown.
what have I done?
I turn away from the message I see,
but I can’t deny it any longer.
it was once gray,
but now thick red lines have appeared
around its black center.
the uneasiness grows
and grows, and can’t buried deeper.
new shoots break the earth
and this shovel feels clumsy
in my hands that tend to drop.
I deserve every inch
of the destruction I see.
my hope falling through the cracks.
the sky coming down,
pouring salt water across my skin,
these wounds burn,
this throat is raw, my voice stiffled,
and will be forgotten entirely
I turn my face up, show my teeth,
but without any defiance.
I’m laying myself down
to be drowned.