when i was in sixth grade, i overheard a girl
calling me a cry baby and cried about it.
when a baby cries, someone picks her up,
holds her, soothes her, until the crying ceases.
i don’t remember anyone ever holding me.
but, last night, when my eyes were running
taps he forgot to turn off, you fixed me.
erased my smeared black liquorice mascara
and watered down my stenchy liquor breath.
"don’t cry," you said, as i flooded the room
with tears no less salty than the sea.
and that night, i wholeheartedly believed that
i could have cried the world’s sixth ocean.
instead you mopped up the mess i made
with tender words and purple kisses.
you enveloped me in a kind of embrace
performed whilst jumping off burning bridges.
the next morning we chewed toast together
in silence, afraid we wouldn’t like each other
as much as we liked each others’ subconscious.
let us not speak of my tongue’s autograph
engraved in the caves of your neck.
let me return your favours with better memories
of me stained into the back of your head.
They say everyone we love is 78% water.
If that’s true, someone please slice open your stomach like a c-section
and let all the liquid drain out so I won’t have to love you anymore.
My mother used to sing me to sleep when I was a child with songs about
how one penguin proposes to one another by offering it a pebble.
I want my pebble back.
Wednesdays are the hardest, I don’t know why-always wanting
to lift you out of me like a string of innards and transfer you
to someone else, like the organ donation box they ask
if you’d like to check on driver’s license application forms.
Four years ago, archaeologists dug up an ancient urn
in the Sahara, made of burnished red clay;
it contained a love letter written in hieroglyphics on a stone tablet.
I’m so goddamn afraid that fifty years from now,
I’ll still have a love letter written to you inside my chest too
when they pull the heart cavity open on the operating table
after I’ve been pronounced dead.
At least I’ll no longer be breathing when they remove
the last remnants of you from my body.
n. the ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable—their pupils glittering, bottomless and opaque—as if you were peering through a hole in the door of a house, able to tell that there’s someone standing there, but unable to tell if you’re looking in or looking out.
am i right to say that you spend too many
friday nights swallowing potions you don’t need?
how many times have you cried like niagara falls
whilst being under the spell of intoxication?
when traces of lucidity and consciousness are slipping
through the holes of your threadbare jean pockets,
promise me that i’ll be hiding somewhere between
your lost thoughts and broken dreams. don’t let me
tumble out into the cold night, collapse onto the
concrete pavement amidst broken beer bottles.
promise me that when your head hurts the morning after
you will remind yourself that everything is okay,
pick up those bruised memories of us and
restore them in your calloused hands. stop trying to
warm up those forgotten feelings with liquor that paints
fire on the walls of your throat, you’ll only burn them.
stop trying to numb your mind, just remember me.