I should walk out
big as Venus,
if I was ever honest.
my arms are wrapped
in a purple peacoat and
my hair is curled with an iron to
add ebullience to errands.
suddenly gather every strand with
self importance in
tiny felt bundles.
that week I had even painted my nails a
bright color; a conversation starter,
truly as vapid as possible.
remain as sunny as possible.
insipid and careful,
rip it all out later
as if beauty even matters
when I’m on the floor in tangles
trying to untangle
words I can’t commit to;
making the motions of crying stopping
to cough politely
to no one in the room.
I listen to AM radio today.
grasp the magnitude of crooners’ legacies,
of death reverberating against each window,
understand how most lives are wasted shirking
the embarrassment of a simple
I love you
when we could have said nothing,
just hugged more or looked at
each other. .
but I put distance between myself
and those I run to.
i’ve been dying drying to drown
in three consecutive hours of
smuggled moonshine and
a quick spin around the block,
knees up and the airbag on
climbing that ladder to the sun,
project my inner warmth all over pedestrians
in middling dust
and they’ll say
oo I feel like I was gently touched.
or locked in a necklace that bruises my clavicle when
I’m not careful
and I suddenly have to
run from it all.
I want to be fetal in silver and sapphire
grabbing his charred pinky to hold on,
hugging his hard heart and I still can’t call home
with any urgency and there are
people always seeking me.
storm clouds form on the side-view,
settle and condense.
the glass is dotted with a thousand tiny reflections
of survivor’s guilt
this decade feels like elastic chaos,
one overwrought vignette that stretches
continentally and I can’t
get a break and the light rain
from a gray cloud
can’t flood this whole thing.
did God intend to rip this from my insides
this way? I hurdle myself
headfirst into a mirror
in an effort to memorialize
fresh heart all over the closest floor
without a towel or a
or a posed frown.
no monologue or saccharine coat
or any real motive
except it was true:
i wanted teeth too.
lit a cigarette and choked.
take another drag,
watch the smoke cut designs into the ceiling.
you liked this don’t forget the feeling
of the first inhale;
the first time you rolled the stick
between your fingers
your thumb smelled like
the kitchen window.
the first time you saw your brother
smoke behind the garage
and he sneered;
you had spray painted your name into it first.
before you learned to paint the worms,
he taught you how to shake the can.
he taught you how to tag the shed.
he taught you how to lie to dad
about the missing colors.
he taught you how to
curl up into a ball and drift
back into your insides
whenever you hear the rattle
like baby’s teeth
being tossed left to right