I keep thinking of drowning and love and how they feel kind of similar. They suspend you, weightless, and everything about it is pain. But really, drowning. Is it the worst way to die? It’s suffocation, but more violent. The oxygen isn’t there. It isn’t being taken away. It’s replaced by something we can’t live with. It’s our own bodies giving up on us.

My stomach hurts whenever I talk to you. I wish I could pinpoint what brings out that feeling in me, but it isn’t good until we’re laying next to each other, naked, talking about nothing. And then I cry when I leave, headed home, knowing there isn’t a guarantee I’ll see you again. This time, I won’t.

This is it. We’re nothing like the dramatic ways of the movies, but my emotions have shifted into something smoother. Gentle waves. My bones ebbing away, the tears tracking down my cheeks and wearing pink skin raw. What is this? Why do I care?

We share similarities–we have both been adopted at birth. I don’t want to know. I feel a recklessness when I think of the birth parents, overpowered by guilt. So much guilt. That, worse than anything, hurts. It pulls at my blood like you do. You, though. You actively searched them out. You want to meet them. I wish I had that courage… that audacity. But my parents would be hurt. Aren’t we good enough? my mom might think. Their doubt would crack our relationship–their self-doubt, caused by me.

Bitterness. I feel weightless and bitter and my lungs sting as if the pacific ocean has taken up residency there, because we can’t talk about things like this without my blood running hot and cold and I can’t miss you without feeling guilty and I can’t love you because there’s no ‘us’ or ‘we’ and you don’t give a damn about me. You use me for my body. You use me for my warmth. I cannot sustain the both of us, and maybe you know I’d give it all to you. Take it, so I can feel nothing. Maybe then I’ll feel at peace.

My Friend

There’s a whisper at the door. Angels have feasted on my new friend, on her hair, turned it golden, and made it glow. Demons leak through the creaking floorboards and watch us carefully. They bow over and attach themselves to her feet, slowing her rhythm until she cannot remember the last time her heart beat. She does anything to numb the pain as they flood her bloodstream and tell her nasty things. The angels are gone, there’s no room for them here anymore.

The whispers grow louder. My friend’s lungs mourn oxygen as a flower mourns warmth in the winter and with a last breath they shrivel, together, the flower and my friend, the petals and her hair, her skin, the stalk and her bones, her teeth, the leaves falling to the snow like her blood hitting the shiny wood floor, until there’s only a ghost standing in front of the mirror, pulling shards of ice out by her fingertips wondering when the frostbite will set in.

Does she realize angels have touched her? The demons live in her now, it’s almost pointless to contest, all it would take is an MRI to see her heart is dying and it’s pathetic because we love her for her beauty. We love her for her beauty but we despise the words that might come out of her mouth–words like tar spread across her lips, a much thicker concoction, made of blood and pain, except it doesn’t hurt her, it just chokes her and leaves her feeling as if she had missed something desperately–something like air, the air her lungs have been craving, starving themselves unwittingly for, because she couldn’t swallow and talk and breathe all at once, and the demons made her pick the former, never the latter. Instead of air she gets regrets and ice and a mirror that reflects what the angels gave her and what the demons took.

The demons leave when she wipes her mouth, black hatred smearing across the back of her hand like lipstick. They leave when she can no longer stand up straight, when she can no longer let loose the volley of words that aim to maim–because maiming is so much worse than killing–because the people are driven away from her chill and there’s no one left to hurt, not even her friends, not even me, not when she hurts me and I evaporate and watch from a distance. My dear friend’s warmth is entirely put out, as she finally takes a look at what they did to her and finally tries to stand tall. But it’s the trying that’s the hardest, and everyone knows it, and everyone watches her knees tremble and her bones shatter under the weight of the world on her shoulders–this self imposed weight that is born of a newfound guilt–but still she stands and she raises her hand to her reflection. She doesn’t flinch, this friend, this girl, this angel, but the mirror does, the mirror bows away from her and vibrates in a way that mocks praying, mocks the girl’s knees, mocks the ground she stands on because everything is suddenly unstable.

And that’s when she realized there were never any angels or demons. They were in her imagination and it was her that drove people away and only she that could save herself. Everyone watches while the mirror cracks and crumbles and my friend is left staring at a wall that needs another coat of paint because of everything that’s been ignored, the paint on the wall is certainly at the top of the list, and it’s a relief not to analyze herself anymore, not to stare at her reflection and into her eyes and at her lips and nose quiver, wondering where the air in the room has gone. Now she can close her eyes–she does close her eyes–and she can sit down–she does sit, ungracefully, because no one is watching and she knows it, she’s fully aware of the empty room around her now that the pieces of the mirror on the floor only reflect the ceiling, bouncing off-white cream-colored peeling paint back at itself and we’ll see how much time it takes for the paint to pull away from the plaster, to hate itself like she does.

Now she sits and breathes for the first time in years, because for the first time the air is warm and the ice inside of her melts and her lungs uncurl from the fetal position they had taken up inside her chest, safe under her ribcage. She’s the flower now, her lungs singing praises as the stem breaks through the ground and the tiny bud splits open, showing the world beautiful colors they never imagined.

 

Let Me In?

I stand at your gates and look up to the sky;
It’s dark where I stand, and I’m not sure why.
My head is spinning, because I want to scream
At the way you hide away, lost in your dreams.

I’m on my knees, ready to plead,
But you don’t know what I need.
You keep yourself hidden, you’re locked
In your mind, a headache forming, I knocked.

Please forgive me, I need to know:
The way you say hello
Is quite magical, dear,
And its realness is my only fear.

If You Could See Me

Sometimes I have a dream
That you look into my soul
And see nothing but a hole;
Desperately I want to scream.

You look at me, lacking control
Because your baby disappeared;
It was the one thing I feared:
Realization of what they stole.

The black hole in me leered,
A gaping chasm in my heart;
Spreading, it’s poison from a dart
That cannot be revered.

Oh, dear, what a look on your face;
A shattered soul met without grace.

Winter’s Darkness

In this grey cold,
A lonely heart bleats.

Shiver, controlled,
What rush retreats;
Frozen air has cajoled
and plunged heart beats.

An endeavor of old;
Winter’s mistake repeats.
Love shaded pale gold
Like a ghost, faded.

Skip the blasted grey; hold
to the blue-tinged streets.

You Might Think This Is For You. You’d Be Right.

I wish to see your world of grey
And paint it with colors.
Flecks of gold favor your lips:
Spare your wordplay
And best vocabulary for truth.
Midnight’s blues eclipse
Your eyes; shards of flowered
purples firmly anchored.
Work is undone; The sun sets
Our quiet world ablaze,
And suddenly it becomes
Fiery embers of rusted red.

Broken Heart

A heart that is broken still beats.
A heart cannot break of sadness
Or loneliness
Or despair.

My heart didn’t stutter when
My lungs cracked apart
And showed me how unforgiving
Your ice really is.

My heart was far from my mind
As my stomach twisted until
I could barely swallow.
Or eat. Or think.

My mind buried you and
Laid beside the grave,
Rubbing its fingers over
Your engraved name.

My heart slowed down and
Sped up when I pondered you
And showed me steadiness
As I faced grief.

I Had A Friend

I had a friend who listened to me;
she listened so much that she didn’t hear me ask about herself.
She kept her arms and ears open,
but not to the extent to which I could reach out and pull her into myself.
I wanted to save her,
she only wanted to save me, and leave herself in the cold.
One day she asked me why I didn’t care, and I didn’t have an answer.
I thought I had shown her my love through my voice, but she couldn’t hear it.

I had a friend who was kind;
she cared and cared for everyone except herself.
She wished the world to anyone else,
but didn’t stop to consider who cared for her.
I wanted to save her,
she only wanted to save me, and leave herself in the cold.
One day she asked me why I didn’t listen to her, and I didn’t have an answer.
I thought I listened, but maybe it wasn’t her words I was supposed to pay attention to.

I had a friend who listened, and a friend who was kind.
They stretched and yawned and curled into each other.
They were ready to come in from the cold,
But I couldn’t be the one to open the door.
They built a fire of my bones,
Stacked burning words atop my flesh, watched me sizzle,
and thought nothing of saving me.
I became ash.