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My Stranger

You were an illusion to me,
but nothing had ever felt more real.
I saw your light, winter eyes when I closed mine,
but I couldn’t draw them.
I couldn’t find a person that echoed
you or a voice close
to the made up one
I talked about so often.
I thought of places
I could find you.
I kept thinking
you had to be real
for me to feel yanked
out of place.
The drain in me was pulled,
and I couldn’t escape myself.
I told myself
if you were real,
you would have stopped this feeling.
I’d stand in front of the mirror,
knowing I must be insane,
obsessed with this notion
that a soul lives in my head,
waiting for me to find you,
as I continued to create your life
and who you are and who you
could be.
I went on to be with real people,
tangible heartbreaks
and mistakes I had to work through.
Kisses I could feel on my lips
and hands I could feel on my skin.
But I thought of a stranger
that I knew I spent lifetimes with.
I thought of you
when the sky was sharp with sunsets
and when I drove by glassy lakes
at night.
I knew how you’d feel about
the air after it rained,
and the sound of cicadas when it got
just hot enough.
I knew how you felt about me
because I felt it when I was alone
and when I wasn’t alone
and when I convinced myself you were
my imagination.
But when I opened the screen door
that winter afternoon,
I knew it was you.
“You feel so familiar,” I said.
“Maybe we met before,” you suggested.
But you knew too.

A Certain Shade

What if we only saw eyes?
Like the deep blue of the mechanic
down the block,
great deal on tires.
I’ve never seen a blue that dark
on a person.
And what about my cat kneading
the zebra blanket next to me?
Light green, but a certain shade
that only a cat can have.
Is there a cat green?
I saw a picture of a girl today
and the first thing I said was,
“Her Eyes.”
They could have been any color,
but they were light and shaped
the way that day made her feel.
I wonder what color my eyes
would be if I looked
at you now.
What color is
Please Don’t Forget Me?

Tone It Down

Sleepovers used to be dance music,
movie popcorn,
small sips of
Oh-My-God-I-just-tried-beer
and trying to forget
what it tastes like.
Sleepovers used to smell like
makeup and body sprays, and
feel like leather purses
we would wear to the mall
at night.
Sleepovers had 2AM secrets, and
“Please tone it down, girls” laughter.
Sleeping bags were rolled up
with “I think I might love him,”
and braided hair.

Now sleepovers are nights
we sleep in the
same bed, watch a bad
TV movie, and coax the cat
to sit between.
We turn the lights out at
11, and turn on our sides.
Back to back, body to body.
The feeling of your own outline
being colored in by
your best friend sleeping
next to you.
In the morning there is the
good morning yawn
that is more like
“Nice to see you again.”
We lay there and stretch–
the cat is on me.
“I actually liked that movie,”
she says to me.
“Ya know, I did too.”

Little White Blimps

Pills, 13 a day.
Dry swallow.
Feeling them hike down
my throat,
all their gear in their
capsules, packed tight
just in case they get lost,
and need to stop for
a break along the way.
Regroup.
They find a place inside me.
I can’t imagine where
they are.
No creative metaphor or
pretty images of castles
in the dark spaces
of my body.
Just waiting for a
much needed rescue.
Breaking free
from a shell that dissolves
in me,
becoming me,
becoming a part of my
routine, and learning
how I feel about my body
and the way I live and write.
Sometimes I swallow with water,
imagining that the current
will move them
to a place outside my
skin, to a day when
I can feel my body
as a body
without little, white blimps
reminding me that something
is wrong.

Love Me

I walked across town
to give him a muffin
when he was out sick
from school.
Just one day of not
seeing him
at his locker
made my stomach tighten
in triple knots.
Didn’t eat lunch,
forgot how.

One night we stood close,
my hat on backwards,
jacket zipped high.
He told me I looked like
a boy.
If I was
he would have kissed me.
If I was a chameleon
I would have gotten my wish.

It isn’t something that passes.
It’s something you have to
write down,
but can’t.
When you search songs
you will always find it,
buried, and it hits you
like a bumper car
from every side.
You would rather
be covered in bruises than know
that they will never
be in tune
with you.

We listened to My Chemical Romance
and Mayday Parade
as he wrapped his arms
around my body–
an artificial need
to be close to me.
I fed on the sincerity of his
warmth, and told myself
I would never forget
his smell or what the
date was, or
the color of the couch,
the movie we watched after.

I feel the carvings,
the raw indentations
I left years ago.
Tally marks of how many days
I spent knowing
my best friend would never–

I found that time
is not what heals. It is not
what made me move again,
love again,
smile, feel, re-learn
simple words
actions.
Chew, swallow
breathe,
untie knots.

Something new.
Something new.
Breaks patterns.
Breaks you
out of
being
broken.

The Difference

Leaves moving like birds,

I slam on my breaks.

Cannot risk mistaking one

for the other.

Stillness in the road,

my driveway, around the

sharp corner–

Wind moves life.

And when I walk

I step on full leaves

to relieve them

of the pressure

of being

full of air, thoughts.

I bite my lip,

feeling the crunch, hearing

the leaf’s voice

trace mine, erase mine, even.

Yesterday my backyard was

completely covered

with birds.

My window cat was

going crazy–mental ward worthy:

all the black birds

all the black birds

all the black birds.

Pecking at whatever is hiding

under the leaves.

Dear Writer’s Block

Blank screens are not too bright

for us

to write on,

or too white

or too blank.

The problem is not

in the keys or the

emptiness or the absence

of anything

or the time that passed

since I tried.

It isn’t anything

that is in front of me

or not.

It isn’t

it isn’t

it isn’t

a list of what isn’t.

What I need is

music that I am not

hearing

and words that have

a place somewhere else.

I need meaning

that has a ready-made

nest inside my head.

It’s the times when

you just know

what to say

at the right moment

to someone who needs

to hear it.

Not a screen.

Or a piece of paper

you’ll end up throwing away

anyways.

Or rip out of your new journal.

You wanted to save it

for something special anyways.

The secret is to have

no idea

what you are writing

and just speak and just

type

and you cannot read it

until your fingers tell you

it is time.

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