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 Mar 2016 Ayana Harscoet
you're so brittle
sometimes I feel stronger than that
but you make me seem like some
stained glass window in the belltower
of a church, you don't want to touch me
for the sake of a metaphor you heard once--
but I won't collect dust on your mantle
to satisfy your mirror tropes and sweet,
sweet, nothings.

that's exactly what they are, right? more than
once i've peeled back the ***** of a wound just
to make a point, to emphasize a passion, only to be met
with *is that any way to live?
As if you were accosting me
in the street for the birds in the trees or dirt in the cracks
as if you were saying is that any way to be you?
I don't know, is it? Bare your heart! you tell me,
and I do, I bear it.
(c) Brooke Otto 2016

this was supposed to be longer.
 Mar 2016 Ayana Harscoet
this is a love letter to my body.

this isn't a love letter to my body
because I so often hear people say that i
am a spirit with a simple packaging, someone
naturally without form but capable of so much

they say love the skin you're in, but I say love
the spirit, hiding.  Love the spirit who came
to these fingers and said yes, who took
residence in those legs and cried out in
joy, who found richness in a gift without
precedent, love the spirit that reached
out with itself and grew a soul in
a shell, where you thought no roots
could gather, where you doubted the
integrity of a creator's hand,

Love the spirit, sitting here. A warm whisper
of a girl pulsing in the spotlight, who never
asked for your blame, for your guilt and
headstone, for the things you said when
you were mad, or the disgusted turn in
the mirror when dissatisfied with the
the coat for a never-ending winter
the vessel for without
she might seep into the very
earth and cease, be raw as
a blister against the wind
and seek shelter against
the other realms--

love the spirit, here.  Because
though the lights are dim and
the tunnel is long, train tracks
need a destination and birds
never fly without a place to

love the spirit, here.
love the spirit here.
(c) Brooke Otto 2016

this has been in my drafts for a while.

written september 17th, 2015.
 Mar 2016 Ayana Harscoet
 Mar 2016 Ayana Harscoet
You peel
back the
& we are
the same,
beneath flesh,
as scaly fish
beneath the
of a lake,
life clearer
now judged
by the
weight of
        a soul,
shaped versus
deep bowl
too heavy
          to hold,
things obscure
before stand
        clear as
stars pressed
the night sky,
as your red
twisted veins
in hand with
 Mar 2016 Ayana Harscoet
you gave me a list of everyone
you'd kissed, not arbitrarily--
I'd asked. The way you ask
where the bathroom is or
for a glass of water, but
you sent me a full directory
of names, a rolling file of
women I didn't know but
would rake through the
similarities and try to define
your tastes, blonde, blonde...

When I asked you how many
people you had slept with, I was
lying on the floor picking at the red
threads in my carpet while you rolled
your heavy palms into my shoulders.
you stilled for a moment, sliding down
to the base of my hips

I dunno...five? Or ten...
I laughed and you loosened.
Well, I mean...define sleeping with.

to me there are not many definitions for
one thing, there are synonyms for *** but
none of them you really need

Just four, then.

What happened to the other six? Were they only
kind-of-sort-of's? if you didn't really feel them, did they ever exist?
if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around hear it, did you really sleep with her?

Later on you would casually mention that you were worried that's how I really kissed as if a peck could dictate a whole eight years of
kissing--and I was kind of offended. But then there's that list, the list of
all the trees in the forest that fell and the six that went missing and i think about how I can count the number of people i've slept with on
my pointer finger and how perhaps that doesn't even apply, do you pump gas for twenty seconds before the girls at the counter start crying?

suddenly there are experiences that you
have stamped into your belt and none where i've pretended to be
full of lusts and talents and shortcomings
really I'm just a baby, a wisp of cotton
yellow, so yellow
and you're a full bag of burlap and wire
(c) Brooke Otto 2016

this poem is a mess but I don't feel like spending more than ten minutes on it.
the nights are bitter,
the stars no longer glitter,
but i'm best alone.
a haiku
 Mar 2016 Ayana Harscoet
we are encouraged to be light
but I beseech you to be heavy--
with your skin and hair and every
bone, with your gossamery soul--
a soul that could sink ships,

be heavy, you are much.
I've been keeping a small journal to log stanzas i think of while out and about.

(c) Brooke Otto 2016
I came to you
or did you come to me?
Memory may not be a strong suit
but foresight
and hindsight
and ability to see it all
is the most piercing of gazes.

It matters not if I am near or far,
you can pick me out like a white pebble
in a sea of black
like a shooting star.
Yet you refuse to see me.
Reasons do not matter,
nothing matters.
No, it all matters,

that is to say she had to be beautiful,
she had to be full
of what I might have wanted...
or did I want it.
What did I want?
                                what do i have...
you can try, but if it's not meant to be, you'll know.
and please, don't be selfish.
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