lightly doused
in panic:
the atmosphere,
the violin,
the food, it’s
I am scared, shaking and
cradled by my
gnawing contrition.

your hand is in mine.
you are stroking a painted thumb
   this nail polish is called kerosene
smiling openly.
I return the gesture:
 show my unkempt life in off white teeth,
sore tongue,
gums as red as love.

someone gently rubbed glitter on my
forearm to make me
*pop* a little more and I
meant to respond.
 my heart is a brass bell,
frozen, staid,
caught between two
my hair is up and partially mussed,
dark auburn when there’s sun.
I don’t wear my brother’s ashes
around my throat
I think that’s more telling
than I let on.

today is partly drizzle and partly
made up in my head.
you stand  taller than God and I
shrink; gothic in a mixed
drink and someone else’s
dress wrapped around my hips, 
daydream of someone else’s
rough lips picking at my thin skin,
someone else’s orgasm
propping up my knees,
someone’s meek kiss carving diamonds
on a weak spine
that is atrophying
on a bleak night,
and I almost turn twenty five
like this.
someone taps me,
asks me for a light.

my hair is half down and
covering my eyes.
my feet are bare,
rooted in mud somewhere near
a soggy paper plate
that has a dot of frosting on the rim
scraped from a cake
that probably read
congrats on breaking indigent!
but we devoured it without skimming
as if ten plus years of
bohemian arrogance is anything to celebrate.
I should be dead.
I should be erupting.

you are muffled laughter and
showing another woman the view from the balcony,
holding space for her pain in a way
that romanticizes internalized rage.
I am watching.
I am  the dark breaking sky
who forgot how to storm
so she just lightly pours
another flask full.
my chest is broken and brass and
coughing politely.
“Ahem,” I hear
them say, still waiting
for my matchbook.

I point to the moon
and start running.

“the birthday party”

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