debris

there will be days when you lose
me completely
when i will try to open my mouth
to speak to you and the words
will just sit there on my
tongue: heavy, large,
entirely unable to become
sound.
there will be days when i am
just a shadow, when you
will try to look at me
but only be able to see right
through:
the ghost of who i once was –
an empty shell.
there is a sickness inside me
which constantly beckons me to
disappear.
there is a monster clawing
at me from the inside
and these days it’s always
winning. the bleeding will
start soon, i can feel it.
there will be days when you
lose me completely, where
i will disappear so
professionally you will wonder
if i ever really existed.
grand and alive as i was.
once teaching hope and wonder.
there have been days when you
have lost me, completely,
i know. you’re still looking.
every time, there is less and
less of me to be found
in the burning debris of
my breakdown.

bruising

today the past has come to life
and my place in the world
(or lack of)
is loud and clear,
nonbelonging painted over my
skin – shades of black and blue.
what is a bruise if not
an acknowledgement of pain:
hurt made visible?
who am i if not
an acknowledgement of pain:
trauma made visible
and too human to ignore?
the past has come to life today
here in my house,
and it is breathing in all
my oxygen, leaving me reeling
on the floor.
the past has come to life today
and it is pushing knives deep
into my flesh.
what is my body if not
proof that things can grow
in places where they are not
welcome?
this -my- body is proof
things can grow where they
are not welcome,
where they are not loved,
where they are always
on the outside.
things can grow when they
are not welcome (look at me,
look at the size of me)
but when they die,
they still die alone.

living with loss

he knows me well,
walks through my apartment
like he owns the place,
casts a shadow on every
corner with even a
semblance of light
reflecting off it.

we live together.

the closet is half mine,
half his.
he fills his side
with all my traumas,
color-coded and
freshly folded,
ready to wear.

he owns the
air i breathe, too
and charges me guilt on
days i breathe too well,

i tip him extra.

half the fridge belongs to
him. he stocks it
with my memories,
plastic-wrapped and frozen
in time,
ready to be consumed.

most breakfasts are
nights at the hospital.

for lunch,
he’s spoon-feeding me
beeping machines and calling
for nurses, sleeping on
the ICU floor,

he wants me nourished and
full

and i swallow every bite.

this is loss.

and you might have not noticed
him, but he saw you here.

he was the one that made sure
every kiss felt like our first
and our last, the butterflies
in our stomachs
fluttering but heavy with
dread.

he’s bigger now that
you’re gone, too.

this is loss.

he knows my name.
and i know him more intimately
than i ever wanted to.

hello

For years, your hellos
meant “welcome home”.
I was a soldier
every time you walked in,
running to you homesick
and wounded, looking
for the end of the war
inside me.

You put the
fires out every time,
defused all the ticking
bombs, declared my heart
a peaceful nation for
once –
finally.

How was I supposed to fall
out of love with you?
You didn’t even have the
decency to turn into a
monster;

The nerve to still be
your gorgeous self.

You ray of sunshine,
you light of my fucking
life –
I wasn’t afraid of the
dark until I met you.

The audacity to stand there
and continue to embody all
that is good and beautiful
and holy.

How dare you?
To become both my pain and
my healing, my executioner
and my very last wish.

Now my heart is a country
in turmoil, war-torn and
ravaged, bombs going off
everywhere,
a famine of the soul;

How dare you carve yourself
into my skin then expect me
to just shed you?

Rings on our fingers and
rings on our skin,
you were it for me.

Even now, I love you
is sub-text for everything
we say,
even “I hate you”.

We know this.

When I ask how you’re doing,
I’m saying you’re still
the love of my life.

I know your “I’m fine”
is just I miss you.
Blanket reality with
niceties.

We are so fucking polite.

Last night, I realized again
that I lost you.
It comes in waves.
It washes over.

I came to you gasping for
air.

I said “hello”.

hourglass figure

I’ve lost so much I don’t know how
to keep anything in my hands
anymore.
Not this love. Not even hope.
There are holes in my palms and
every thing falls through,
sand in an hourglass,
always a second too late.
If I no longer have the things
I think I deserve:
you,
living without melancholy,
the ability to recognize the
extravagant beauty of rain,
maybe that’s what I’m deserving of.
People slip through my fingers
like they’re made of water, and
when I try to hold on the waves
pull me into the ocean and leave
me there to drown. Every time.
I look for you, still.
Water filling up my lungs.
I look for you – still,
and for him – always,
but I can’t find anything.
Not hope. Not even comfort.
I thought if I deprived myself,
I’d learn to swim, alone, but
I’ve lost so much and I don’t know how
to keep my heart from constantly
having to rebuild itself from
the ground up.
She and I are weak.
When I was younger, all I longed
for was independence.
I sought it out like it would
save me. I lit a match
and flicked it into every gasoline-
soaked person I walked into and
ran – excuses to be both the hero
and the villain. I was saving me.
Now that all I have is myself,
I’m just tired.
Just here.
Drowning and on fire.