I do not want to slide my hand across the bed
and find the sheets are cold,
I do not want to wake panicked
in the middle of the night, heaving heavy breaths,
my racing heart, cold sweat,
sweaty palms and there is no one
no one to understand my sense of need,
no one to turn the pieces over in my palms
to show me they aren’t broken,
show me how to make them fit better than before,
And when I shake, standing
in the elevator, my stomach clenching
and unclenching, I think of you and everything
everything inside feels calm and I breathe—
Too many nights I’ve slid my hand across the bed
to find the sheets are cold;
I will only sleep soundly
when I no longer have to sleep alone.
I am holding my breath—
I am holding my breath because I’m too scared
to swim and no one taught me
how to drown.
Emotions start to evaporate,
replaced by constant cycles of
constantly recycled mundane routines
that make the color gray begin to
like the color of my skin.
The words don’t make sense until I scatter
them across the paper and even then
I am left with fragments and broken
sentences, puzzle pieces
that never quite fit.
I am holding my breath—
I am holding my breath because it’s easier
than breathing in a world that
wants me to suffocate.
The Big Lime Grove in the Sky
I found you lying there
slick with rain, your belly puffed out like a
tongue in a cheek.
How did it come to this?
Balloon without helium,
there was no celebration here
for you today. How did you find this
place, this city of grey matter, this
nine a.m., the molasses sky dripping
between the buildings and the clouds.
I wanted to press you to my chest,
lay you gentle into the little nest within me,
anoint you with holy water,
brush the pavement from your branches of knees.
little creature of
lemon zest, lime feathers,
wings of carbonated
to where the heart goes
when they find you with your beak upturned;
eyes closed —
in a world without
blackbirds, shadow jays,
to your lemon grass, your
lime groves, into the true blue of sky
that you thought you would find
in the windowpane,
to that great nesting place,
where you will be reborn into a robin’s egg,
speckled, freckled and
This world is too much
for angels like you. Here,
even the sewer grates have
This world left you dead
because you had what it wanted.
it is not too late to fly.
I imagine taking long, languid sips of coffee
as the sunlights refracts across the glass table top,
casting rainbows on the brick walls and everything
smells like warm summer blossoms but the
air is cool and fresh and welcomes adventure.
We smile like time is our treasure to spend
whenever and however we want it, cashing it in
for sugar cubes to drop into our mugs to sweeten
the moments. It’s a taste that brings me back
to the sloping, jagged rocks above an ocean so soft
it could be painted with water colors; and I feel
the sky, the cool tile floor beneath my bare feet,
the hum and buzz of the bees circling drunk
on the balmy floral air. I hear the crinkling of my
weatherworn leather journal, black ink gliding
across the crisp paper, stained with the scent of roses,
I stared at your mouth until I shadowed
the creases in the corners
of your eyes,
and the deep set lines
that in your younger years
were handsome, distinguished dimples.
You crumbled under your words
until you became
as broken as your promises,
and I became as white as the knuckles
of your clenched fists.
We smoldered for a moment that seemed
to stretch between us
like a firey desert,
dying of a desperate thirst, an aching
hunger, an echoing void.
When the pain of living with
the pain of living without
we are faced with a rawness;
our souls become chafed, life makes
callouses out of our hearts and hands.
We become the ghosts
that hide under the bed, that linger
in the closet.
We learn to look in the mirror,
and find some way to justify