It all started when I was five and he bent me over and said

here’s what it’s like

to fuck a man

I set the example of

safety in malice.

what do I deserve?

what is fair?

it feels like
government fingers
and pricked skin,
veins everywhere.
an interrupted sleep
and a train coming by,
every fifteen minutes or so.
and cold.
I hate gloves
so my bare fingers trace
the pole,

I named the feeling
of living in Philly
gray but this particular
day is 

“allegheny station”

 I used to dream but now I get up four or five times a night.  To pee.  Not because of my fist.Anywhere from one to twenty four.  And as I prepare to get up, to begin to unfurl the covers, I have to clench and unclench my fist  to get it to work. And i think, what would happen if I just put down the straw?

I have all sorts of medicine.

Though sometimes I am asleep on it. Sometimes I am. But most of the time it is laying flat next to me. What do I do with my time? Walk for hours. Hours. Thinking. There are great moments of collapsing on the bench. Tears. Public displays of thoughts.I pet dogs. I talk to the dogs and their owners. Things are better now. People let you pet their dogs again.

I just write little notes in my phone.

I spend some days mulling over whether I Love You was enough.

These are the repetitions I tell him, and then
the private  replaying of some events:
his head lifting as I walked out,
sudden and hurriedly towards  him,
noticing the stream of
blood on his face
and all around him.

I replay it. 

Be careful what you say

I’m in pain.

Drew the Hellebore plain as day

and anger they say,

is a killer.


It was my right hand. To start, it was my right hand. Dead in the middle of the night. It would last a minute. Then a couple minutes. Now four whole minutes. They say it’s a compression nerve. Completely numb and I would begin to shake it. At first, it took a minute? Likely a minute and a a half but now it’s seven times to the bathroom and three minutes to wake. Which doesn’t seem like a lot in writing but count it. Begin 1….2….3…4 and imagine you need this hand to prop you up. /imagine you’re waiting, some urgent need or just the shock of it. The consistency; every night it seems. IImagine it, if you will, the dominant hand, and you need this hand to open knobs. Imagine flushing the toilet. Imagine the toilet paper. Imagine if you will them both now, left and right, and now you have to pee three or four times a night. 

He said when I talk about you there’s a lilt in my voice. What do you say anymore to the question was he your only brother?  They simply don’ t ask the number of fathers. And really, there’s so many other things that bother you sometimes it doesn’t even come up. It’s redundant grief. Or at least that’s how it seems.


as if I am even hurting anything;
some tremulous thing
shaking her fist at the
moon and praying for a tidal

you notice my arms are toned,
you say I really wear my weight.
you watch me lift bone to sky
and notice the notch in my veins
before you even notice
the flood.

before you even notice the tilt of the
throat, wavered and



I’m in pain.

Be careful what you say but also there’s a ring to it. I’m ok.

Place the drawing of the Hellebore somewhere near. 

It is with love that I do this, Thy will be done.


“He is standing under a full moon that is hanging so low if he jumped,
he would hit it with his head.

I am that moon.”

been picking at my lip
again. old childhood
corner of my
mouth for minutes at a time
so it forms into a blister.
digging my nail into the blister
just for the feel of it.
stare at it in the mirror.
watch it get fat
and black.
my mother called it
“pleasure pain.”
he’s saying a lot and
I just nod a lot

besides the impulse to
jump off a bridge every
day, I am not totally sure
why I am here.

“do you have any plans to hurt yourself?”
he asks.

what’s done is done.
but I don’t say anything.
just bite my lip.


first, he showed me the block.
waved his hands over black ice,
concrete, gritted
      you know how to make things work

he walked several feet ahead as
we did a loop between two identical
intersections and stopped in a booth so
he could pay for the affection:
a vegan milkshake to soften
the contrast between two
nearly identical snow-lit
worlds; two winters in two
time zones but one was green and blue
and foothill-lined
and  one was bleak.
this one hung in the air:
gelid, tense, a dense and
mutable gray that changed from
partially cloudy to
biting fang
but what is more concerning is the
space between us.

I slurped the vanilla coconut cream
from the plastic straw without making
eye contact or anything known
and he laughed at the things
that just rolled off my tongue
in these little allayed fits. it was January fifth,
the middle of a
polar vortex and I hadn’t seen
the center of the city yet,
or west or anything but
I kept mumbling about the
loose trash  and he smiled.
my nose was running so
I spent the evening
in silence wiping it.
cradled in his iron abdomen.

under my therapist’s guidance,
I switch chairs to talk
to my inner predator.
now now listen to the guilt,
  it’s talking,

I decided to have some boundaries;
lined the edges of my bed with
geranium and lilac threads,
lined the sills with limonium.
my tub dripped nightl:,
altar of salt and lavender.
watched my toes glide to the surface
by a dozen votives.
forgot everything.

my entire winter
was littered with
shards of celestite
and low violin.
I could see the sky when I wanted
from my dining room table
or on a brisk walk
to pick up oranges and Earl Gray
for the morning.
but I mostly stayed in my
warm hole.
rediscovered medicine in prayer
and herb and
open mourning.

on walks, I held
one shout in my throat
in an effort to
pacify myself.
protect myself from myself.
it’s so tiring;
anorexia with
insatiable mouth.
planned outfits.
a  mandible chest.
I return to the chair,

I plan to spend the year
fat, fed…
replete in web
and feast.


You can be more examining
without persecuting.
Working through irascibility.

My childhood was colored by screaming;
Yelling and screaming
and a general longing for touch
that didn’t shame as it held me.

“Uranus in fourth house”

I hated the stairs that cut through the center
and the backyard, too small
now lined with green safety fence,
chicken wire, he held up to show
me.  ways to keep the cat
safe inside.
months later, I will
take it down,
pluck out all of
the crabgrass in the tiny
backyard by hand, no gloves,
appreciating how quickly
my skin calluses,
the encasement for my
straws but utilitarian today,
productive today,
making things happen today.
the way I threw away the
windchime and its broken shells
littering the ground like it
meant nothing to me:
a childhood emblem I’d
had since I was eight,
tossed in a large black
carpenter bag.

none of this is mine.

all the ways I’ve entered
contracts on a whim,
the things I’ve collected
and the interminable slam
of a door or my body
as I show my thorns.
I’m remembering
every step I’ve ever
taken; steep,
knees fractured,
ribs protruding,
crippled by both indecision
and unabating pacing.

and don’t forget
the time he slammed you
on the bed, the voice says.
the voices begin.

“doors #3” 

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