maybe

I’m sorry for saying “I love you”

in a Walmart parking lot.

I’m sorry for the way I looked

at you in a way in

which I threatened you to kiss me.

I’m sorry for all the gas money spent

on sitting in your car exchanging

kisses on our foreheads, hands

and noses. I’m sorry for leaving

out the smiley faces in my texts.

the bitter truth is that I hate your

blue eyes and sensitivity

to the sun and romantic affection.

the bitter truth is that your mother

is your sunshine and

your father says you’re not a real man.

the bitter truth is that you say

you’ve got your life

figured out but you regret kissing

me in a Walmart parking lot.

being a woman means the world is watching you drown

i am not my mother’s wild child phase and you’re not

your father’s happy childhood. i am not the dark eye makeup

forming daunting, black circles around my eyelids. you’re not the

corpse grasping the hand of dismay, guiding

it towards eternity. i am not the woman on a mission

in some girl’s beauty pageant nightmare. i am the

burning silhouette in this aftermath.

i am the recycled holy water. bearer of all

things dead and gone. twisting silver in my mouth,

caressing mirrors ringing bloodshed. id sell my soul if

it meant id make a name for myself. i am aware it’s daunting,

but you would do the same if it meant you’d have a home.

little piece of God

each man is born with a little piece

of God built up inside of him.

it will always start as something nearly

nonexistent before it grows and festers into

something bigger than himself. I heard a

boy say that violence is nearly always funny

when you’re the one perpetrating it.

I wonder if he’d say the same thing to his

mother. is he just comfortable because I am

younger than she? but I was taught

that this is just his little piece of God.

austere

I bleed blue and grey as the world comes to a complete stop. it’s been spinning for awhile now and I’m tired of clawing at the ceiling and curling my toes. even if he never finds out that I planned to kiss him in the middle of the supermarket, just know I’m going to marry him next june. there’s something in the pit of my stomach, stained melancholic and dry, that wants to leave marks on the concrete of this town.

today he said he remembered the color of my first car and the shade of purple I painted my nails last tuesday. thus far I had planned on committing crimes and such. but I’m going to let him change my mind.

God and medicine take no mercy on her

she’s screwed in the head, but at what cost? does it ever matter? what a lovely thing she was, or is. her mind shattered too long ago to tell and she never got that first kiss. finding what you love incandescently and letting it kill you never works. not at least for good people.

the grocery store cashier reminds him of his wife; their smiles identical. she passed away last may and his little brother passed this month. how can it be? a strong man with two perfectly good feet and a heavy heart, and yet here he stands before me to solidify my existence. the world hurts less now.

provoke change and prove your innocence, for you were not created to be reduced to subtlety. your mind is encased in concrete and I know you’d like to keep it that way. just don’t start smoking. and promise me you’ll stay alive another week or three. you mean everything to everyone and we can’t let you get away now.

not quite beauty, not quite pain

maybe she wants his false comfort. her conjured image of him made her feel something. not quite beauty; not quite pain.

his name burns red hot on her tongue when she tries to spell it out to her mother. she told her sisters to stay away from boys who spew constant criticism, yet she’s willing to sacrifice her body and her sanity in favor of a boy who does just that.

she takes the longer way home. the one where his road intersects her road and it makes her heart ache and her stomach churn like nothing ever did. he lives six minutes away in a red house. the first he’s ever lived in.

she wrote sweet nothings on vintage postcards that will never be sent. thank the good lord in heaven she still has blanks that hadn’t been scrawled on in the dark on a sunday night. she’s going to give one to her mother.

the art of breaking up

he says I look like

ophelia, but the way his spine

entangles mine terrifies me. he says I look

like ophelia, resembling bits of

lightning striking stardust.

he says I look like ophelia, but he wasn’t

supposed to know about my favorite

books and secret freckles. broken ribs and

the sound my car keys make as they

hit the pavement. he says I look like

ophelia, drowned by our reality. his smile

threatens to tear through me; I will never

let it. he says I look like ophelia, but the

words he uttered were never kind. he

says I look like ophelia, but my days

spent teary-eyed and ready to

put a gun to my head tells my father a

different story. maybe I do look like ophelia,

destined to rip through this god forsaken

land; dismantling the masculine guilt trip

he’s built in my brain. ophelia was never

a trophy wife; neither will I ever be.

michael || april of 21

bathroom tiles and

chipped pink nail polish

dried flowers and burning

buildings, she’s

drunk on her own

hatred and she’ll never

know it.

pixie stick induced vomit

and dizzy spells.

all because you forgot to eat

for yourself

little girl. why do you stretch

your flesh and rupture your

organs only for

these boys? he doesn’t

want to know your

middle name, so please

don’t tell him about the stars and

instead let him cry about your pretty

face and the honey

dripping from your tongue

because you won’t let him taste

such freedom.

now let his mother

cry herself to sleep,

and his sisters will never

know how pretty you

looked on april sixteenth.

when beautiful didn’t hurt anymore

I thought of you

as my fingertips skimmed the

earth, crushing objects beneath the weight

of girlhood.

wild goose chases and red shoes

and the lifeless bodies of women turned

out to be dead.

mothers of the lovers of the deceased,

taking the same highway home,

sun blinding your eyes as I curse at you

from five miles in the opposite direction.

and my mother tells me

to be careful, that boys aren’t always what

they seem. with their benevolent

mildew eyes and rattlesnake

tooth gaps.

these things provoke remedial

ecstasy at a moment’s notice, proving

that I am just a child; bearing scars

that resemble the orchids my

grandmother keeps on her

kitchen windowsill

spill your guts and call me yours for once

I always dreamt that my future held last-minute poetry slams in the midst of euphoric nightfall, and that my hand was meant to be held tighter than the grip a girl once kept on my throat. Through muffled music pouring from the grocery store overhead speakers I hear your red sneakers skid to a halt before you kiss me for the third time this evening. Yes, we’re nearly grown; but for a split second when the universe breaks in half I feel like a child again.

One time in April of the eleventh grade he asked me how such pretty people could throw away such pretty things. I remember biting my lip so hard it bled before telling him that people grow tired of beauty when they realize it yields little pleasure beyond sight.

There’s always a brief moment during girlhood when nobody cares and the world pays a considerable amount of time on its opinion of you. You’ll grow tired of the curse words you loved so dearly in middle school, your acne will probably worsen, and that dandelion poking out of the cracked sidewalk is the brightest part of your Thursday. Maybe you’ll meet someone, a human your age perhaps, that makes moon rocks seem lighter and silver spoons appear prettier. They’ll teach you to breathe easier and hold you when the heat of the moment burns an exuberant golden green.

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