A Poem About

A Place I’ve Lived.

Once I got so lonely that I lived on an island for 7 long years. 

At the end of my self imposed sentence I tore open my blanketed eyes 

salt water rushed out and back in 

dipping toes, testing light. 

I woke up in the shade above La Boulangerie 

where warm rough hands piled worry into yeast and let it rise in the dark. 

When I was small, I didn’t believe in princesses, miracles, Santa Claus, faith; 

I trusted patterns, repetition and what I could make with my hands.

Quicksand fists I learned to reign in the pop to sink 

into things I’d have to set back free. 

Something like a necklace clasp, soft 14 karat gold, seared flesh in summer. 

The smell of orange knocks me and I make myself a monument on crimson bricks.

If I stay here I will not go back there

If I stay here I will go back to sleep

If I stay here I will not say yes, yes. 

Soft quilted yellow sheets, four poster bed, writing desk she sat like this and sent him sheets to Normandy. I have never learned to spell his name.

The place I box myself into is step by step a replica of hers. 

The way I carry shame and grief for them is layered peeling paint around my neck. 

Collared with history, “clothed in dignity,” 

I stack the pennies from the ground heads up and roll them in my pocket as I leave.

black cords. silver zipper.

Tiny wishes she begs god on the back of her bathroom mirror

for one more piece to land 

for the glass to heal spider vein reverse time 

peel glitter back like a scab 

Keep riding dig deep until you choke the laces into a bow pick your head up toss your hair 

throw back the bottom of whatever last night left 

And hear the opening chords of maybe this time echo in your toilet bowl 

25 and feeling too old for ashtrays and promised lands 

For slipping through a closing door before midnight and telling mom and dad I’m. just. Fine. 

I have a therapist

And a weed dealer for when she’s out of town 

And a lover who likes to find new inches of my body to conquer when I’m asleep

I know the east coast and sweat stains have left their lashes on my sink 

And somewhere I smell pine 

Or just old spice, think about the pews I listened from before I could see past a hymnal 

The red-faced clown I let replace my nightmares about birds

Who yelled his way to heaven every weekend and made me hate black hair that’s wet

I wanted out and you got in just before my eyes clicked clock tick shut 

You greet me lazy smile and drowned green eyes and I nickname you something trite 

You said i gave you a better past to pull from when you write 

My tongue ties a slipknot around your ribcage and suddenly you don’t even want to breathe 

You listen when I hold my hand to your lips and whisper wait.


In the deep blue meanwhile
The air is clear and cold
From icy rain hurtling against my window this morning
A hangover riptide fogs me up
And I cannot look you in the eye
I wish myself blown apart like a dying star
So that I could be part of something infinite
Skating through the sky on a swollen ember at midnight
Instead of crashing through another year of life
Or if I could snake out of my small frame
All the ways I am afraid and set them free
Then I could return to you whole and simple
After a lifetime of wondering if I am just
A caged bird who sees a broken latch and does not leave.