My Line

It was the day after the Fourth of July when I watched you walk away from me for the first time. Clouds brushed the sky with gray while the sun peeked over the mountains, and you turned and waved while tears fell in torrents from my eyes.

May fifth was the day I saw your face again after years of waiting, years of aching. Hot air hit me, and I ran to you. I can still smell the laundry soap on your white t-shirt as I buried myself in your arms.

The last time I saw you was May nineteenth, another fierce Florida day, and my heart couldn’t stop racing, its beat floating somewhere near my stomach instead of my chest. You held me. I cried. You whispered you loved me, that it wasn’t over, and you waved goodbye. 

I tell time in relation to when I last saw you. Was it before or after Johnny? This is how I orient myself in the world, in space. Before or after. You are my line. Before and after you.





Judgement: A Conversation in My Head 

“Why do you care what people will think?”

“I can’t help it. It’s who I am.”


“Explain what?”

“How is it who you are?”

“I’m anxious, worried. Always. Since I was little. I worry what people think, if I’m good enough, if people like me. I can’t stop it. No matter how hard I try.”

“Do you think I judge you?”

“Of course. Maybe more than others.”

“Why more than others?”

“Because I care what you think. Because your opinion of me is so important. I feel like I’m on a precipice, ready to tumble. Every time I hear your voice, I’m falling, unable to stop. If I do something wrong, if I get boring or ordinary, you will be gone again, and I will hurt, and I don’t want to hurt ever but especially now.”

“Why not now?”

“Because I’m fragile. Things have made me fragile. I just want to be what you want. I can’t lose that too.”

“I don’t judge you. I want what this is, who you are, who you can be if you’d just let go. Stop worrying.”


“Come here. Do you feel me next to you? Do you feel my heart beating?”


“When it comes, the worry, remember the beat of my heart. Remember my skin touching yours, and know you belong to me. I will not let you go.”

“I’ll try.”





I close my eyes
and let the music
move in,
let it thrum
through thoughts
I didn’t know I had.

* * *

You stood in the rain once
telling me not to go,
saying sorry to car windows,
and I thought I couldn’t get
any sadder
than that moment.

I watched your resolute face
fall a bit,
crumble beneath
some sort of tenderness
you hadn’t known before,
and I wept
as I watched it vanish
before me.

I still don’t know what it meant,
why your eyes looked softer,
your concern so much truer
with the rain washing your cheeks.

I think it means more
than you say.

It’s why we’re here,
why we are.

It’s that moment
where you fall
and I almost miss it,

where I run
and you demand I
turn around,
even though the pain
eats my insides,
even though
replaces my blood,
the unknown
pumping through me,
giving me life.

It’s the back of that truck,
our lips touching,
the anticipation biting
at our limbs.

It’s why.

Why you
and why me
and why it’s still
in our bones.

* * *

Music fades
but memories do not.
they collapse in
on themselves,
fold up,
and create another layer,
one I had almost forgotten,
one that means something,
just like the truck.

We humans remember
the strangest things,
but I think those are
the moments that matter,
the ones we keep
to carry with us,
to keep us
or close
or loved.





I ache in my bones,
in my skin,
in my brain.

I ache for you,

the pool of anguish
reaching my mouth,
flowing into my nose,
suffocating my sanity
with pain,
with craving
strong enough
to burn me.

My cinders will float
on the waves of my agony,
swim in this lava lake of desire,
and rend me into nothing
but ash.

And like a phoenix,
I’ll rise

and wait for you
to do it all again.



My Constant

Your voice
presses down,
its way into
my mind.

I can feel you
from me,
leaving evidence
for me to find
when I think
I’m rid of you.

Your sticky words
walk on my skin,
burrow below,
and live,
feed on my time,
on my need.

You are my constant.

My hovering familiar,
my master,
my peace.

Your chains
pull me closer
yet I am free.




In or Out

Pieces of you
stuck in me,
jutting out
in raw edges,
steep falls,

and you’re still
a mystery
even though you’ve managed
to lodge yourself
in my insides.

It seems like I
know all your parts
since I feel them
in each muscle,
each move.

You wake me
with words.

I can feel them
inside my lungs and
their impatience

Your fingertips have
changed me,
smudged me
into new,

and I’m dreaming of places
where you’ve touched me
and trying as hard to forget them
because I know it’s all

figures in snowglobes,
frozen but never real.

I know it’s dreams,
fiction and conjecture,


whirl around,
climbing my legs,

to get in
or be let out,
brought out

by your touch,
your words,
those echoes
in the black.




I’ve lost something.

Something important,
fundamental even,
but I’m not sure what
it is or was.

I just know it’s gone.

I thought it was
you or
him or
maybe someone else all together,

but it’s not him
and I’ll never know if it’s you,
so maybe it’s not a person
so much as a piece of me,
of my person,

but I’m sad now,
and I can’t figure out why.

I want to run,
to burn it all down
and flee,
like I’m dead,
a figment who can start again,
forgetting all
the fuck ups and failures.

Scorched earth.

That’s what I want,
but I’m too much of a planner.

I’m broken and obsessed
with finding the right order
for my shards,
but no one knows what that is.

Especially me.




Too complicated
to explain,
to understand.

What happened
to fidelity,
to change?
To being a better person?
To honor and growing up?

What about these is
too complicated to explain?

Has she done something?
Have you?

Do you miss the pieces
you break from me,
the ones I send you
in tiny messages
filled with apprehension?

The thrill of knowing
I’m yours
even when everything else
is going wrong?

Is that what makes you
fall back,
crawl back
to me
even as you demand
I crawl to you?




Not jealously.

Not exactly.

More like hurt.
The insensitivity
of it all.

Like you said it
because you knew
it would hurt me.
Pinch my fragile worth,
and you like to hurt me,
I think.

I wonder
if you’re cruel
just to see how much
I’ll endure.

And I can’t help
but suffer on,
agony leaking
from my dreams
of you with her
or others
while you imagine
how it will be
to tell me,
to whisper
in my ear
how they felt inside.


FYI: In case you might be worried, I am NOT in an abusive relationship. I realized it might seem this way when reflecting on this piece, so I thought I’d mention it. I like the poem how it is, so I’m choosing to add this message instead of water down my work for worry of your reaction. Hope you like it anyway. 🙂





until sanity seems


until it’s over,
until I am no more.

wooden stakes
made from splintered words,
they gouge out my heart
in inch-sized pieces
until I am only shadows,
miniature versions
of those pictures
you have in your room,
hidden in boxes
behind walls
of forgetting.

Who was that?
That girl?

I’m not her.

The one who blames others.
Now I just blame myself
for my schizophrenic tendencies,
those mild moments
of identity crisis
where I’m not sure
if I’m me
or her
or someone else.

I just know I’m
a shell
walking around
as a girl,

and you are

ghostly lines
in my skin

while he is a demon
hovering in my insides,
blacking out all joy
and leading me towards oblivion.