after two weeks you are noticing the holes in my stories, how my fingers twitch around threadbare sentences. i am touching your hands too often and speaking too loudly on the bus. you cry in front of me and i am jealous.
my worst decisions have been forms of sorry, tongue swallowed in don’t go and my arms tangled inward. my ears hum and my chest grows thorns inside. when i try to think myself untangled i end up walking for hours, weighting myself to feet against the ice.
on transit i think about computer viruses, leaning my head on the person next to me, clawing out my lungs. i write the word wings across a notebook. i read an article about transcendence until chest pains make me stop. i am not sure what is a metaphor anymore.
stars pour themselves over snow and i try to sort words into lines, to organize the air that jags in my throat
my blood hums as we pass words between us
like ropes. how we can vibrate through the dark,
silver pouring through the stars, your boyfriend drives
laughing. we swap stories about medicine
and television, books that made us cry,
favourite foods and songs and pets,
our breakdowns in class,
writing, video games,
the moon huge
and orange soft, us inside
the car, inside our bodies, moving
through space, spilling words like branches.
we tie them together, hold on to each other, stay afloat
paper stars spill down
around your car. i move through
night, safe in your words.
it’s been over six months
since i got close enough to anyone
to fear being abandoned
i woke up three times
hot with sweat
fell instantly asleep again
stars flash their needles
i still know the way
to your house
cracked silver sidewalks
a psychic told me
to let you go
but i’m not sure
we were ever
on my tongue
hot metal pours
back and forth
inside my chest
afraid to go to sleep
a glass room narrows
on my lungs
i spill back and forth
through the mirror
scratches where nails
trying to grasp myself
a plate bursting on wall
smoke and songs
the smell of disinfectant
a trip to the rainforest
the knowing/not knowing
none of these are lies
(a history of
right now i feel these:
the snapped neck of an orchid
the ache of tinfoil in a microwave
an impulse to plant seeds in my skin
a vent in the floor burns the air
water fractures in its glass
a hand cradles a tulip, soft heavy head
afraid to sleep, afraid to lie down with my absence
i did not choose this body.
i intended to be the sky.
i wanted stars
to break me open
and spill their fire.
i wanted to swallow the night.
this is accepting consolation.
instead of immortality
the scent of lemongrass;
the texture of bark.
i press my fingers
and call this learning.
as is heartbreak
reading one of my poems
this: the latticework of roots underneath us, the veins that come together in our fingertips. this: the stars that burn holes in my lungs. this walking alone. this newspaper frozen to the sidewalk, melting words.
i want you to put your ear to my chest and hear the rain, these breaking branches. i want to open my ribs and press my heart to yours, to speak into you every possible meaning of the colour red. i want to walk back to the train and ride to the centre of night, and i will tell the gods in your ceiling to let you sleep. i will make myself do the opposite of bleeding. put down that dagger. unbind your throat. do not surrender. it’s a beautiful day to walk down a mountain. let the ram live.
i will breathe back the days, minute by minute. your skin is unbroken, your spine has not learned to bend like an apology, you do not turn away from the sun. morning still means something good. you are not on the floor. you have never seen a migraine aura. the people who hurt you have not been born. you still feel safe inside yourself. the branches that spill from your head have not filled you with dead roots, and everyday you wake up knowing where and who you are. you do not swallow words like poison. you do not know the taste of poison.
you are running through the dark trees and your body shakes with breath and this is still the first time, this is not lying to friends or to doctors, this is you and the wind and your hands that are not weapons, you and an ocean that is not an ending. this is you and you are happy and your breathing fills you up and never ends.
i want medicine that feels as good as crying. i want to break like a wave or a window, fall all around you saying all of this will be fine. meaning it.
it is 12.12 a.m. and you are laughing
laughing like nothing, laughing
like fitting in your skin and filling spaces
of your fingers
the cells and stars
inside you, particles
in and out your throat
the night is purple and cold on your skin
and you are not shivering
it is 12.16 a.m. and you do not want to be a comet tail
do not want to
there are leaves in your veins
when it is over, you pull yourself from the bathroom floor and splash water under your eyes. roll up your sleeves and pant legs. apply iodine to the places you fell when your body finally gave out. wince. roll down your sleeves and pant legs. splash water under your eyes. look at your face and make it smile.
at night, do not recognize your legs, trapped under sheets and not moving. slowly your eyes remember how to close. purple and blue slide down the ceiling and cover you. breathe manually. visualize a flat, black space. grind your teeth against dreams where you are back, a screaming teakettle thrown into snow. where your thoughts grow so hot they push blisters through your skin.
wake up with your lungs empty.
splash water under your eyes. look at your face and make it smile. pull the tangles from your hair and wash your hands until they hurt. try to place yourself in these nerve endings.
pull on your uniform and punch in your name. look at your face and make it smile. offer nods, vague answers of sickness, do not look at faces. stare at the window. do not see past the glass. look at your face and make it smile. glue yourself back together and try not to see the cracks.
your skin burns with built-up electricity and you tell yourself you are thinking metaphorically.
air pressure leaves an ache in the space behind your eyes and clouds weigh on your nerves, preventing your eyelids from ever fully closing. you lay on your back and watch the ceiling move closer. there is a constant feeling you have forgotten something, and you walk from room to room until you are dizzy and your pets worried. your skin cracks as storms build in your chest.
on trains or in the blue light of screens you touch your hands together to keep track of your body. your throat clenches with the sensation of falling. again, you find yourself leaving reminders in the margins of books and on the backs of your hands. do not look for patterns. do not note repeating words or unstable numbers. you tap your fingers on flat surfaces and try to locate yourself in the returning echoes.
you know healing as what comes after shedding skin. you know your nerves on the surface and crying into phones at four a.m. you play the same scenarios but do not find a solution; years later, you are still scratching the same fingerprints off your skin. the words you do not know fill your lungs like stones. do not call yourself cured. do not look for an exit.
you split the day into increments of five and try not to identify with broken glass. the ink on your arms draws closer to your heart.
you walk from room to room.