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I don't know who I want to be
I go to Target to pick out new identities
   try them on in a humid fitting room
   try not to pop the seams before I buy
   try to peel them off when they don't fit just right

The ones I fall in love with are always out of stock
Or only available at the high end up the block
prompted by Life's Work by Rae Armintrout
Sometimes I think that my depression has me in a chokehold so
I pull off its mask only to find that it's been rage with no place to go

Where do you put rage that sneaks up on you?

Do you put it in a flowerpot only to wilt the calla lilies that it touches?
Do you put it in a collar and leash only for it to lunge at the first stranger to approach too quickly?
Do you hold it between your teeth so that it slowly dissolves on your own tongue until every strawberry tastes like grape leaves?

Maybe I'll just file it away
   on the top shelf where I keep my winter coats in Texas.
Then, years from now, when I pack up to move to the mountains, it will topple over and smother me.
Maybe then I'll finally leave it behind
   in the pile of things too broken to donate to Goodwill.
prompted by On the Road by Jack Kerouac
My toes are numb
And I can't breathe through my nose
And I can't wait to get home
And crawl under my grandma's quilt
And feel your skin against mine
Warming me up from the inside

You walk your fingers along the peaks and valleys of my frame
And inside my brain
I am pouring like water from a glass that you tip to your lips
If you're going to drink me in then I only hope
That you will love my body in all the ways I've never been able to

Worship where I've condemned
Hold what I have rejected
Kiss where I have cut
Heal where I have bruised
Be a friend to the thing I named my enemy
This thing I live in, yet keep separate from me
a journal entry
I should be happy

Today was a good day
  like objectively a good day
  like, on paper, a good day

I should be happy
Today good things happened
  better things than yesterday
    or last week
    or last month
    or the last 6 months

I should be happy

But why do I feel like I'm moving my feet through water just to slow them down?
Like I'm looking through cotton just to see where I'm going
Like I'm laughing to prove my smile is bigger than it is
Like even breathing is made harder by the sheet over my lips
  parachuting into my mouth with every breath.
I swear

I should be happy
a journal entry
The polka-dotted sidewalk,
beginnings of a rain-soaked street
The dampness of my socks means that my last pair of shoes have finally given out and left a hole in my soul

My gas light came on yesterday morning, so the wet socks will have to do, as I make my way to you

Eyes, then hands, then lips meet
Words pour, but I stop them short
Mental faucet, won't say more
The tap is too hot, and it always tastes the same

Pass it to you, I only play the game
But you see as I hide my ***** storm
You say "Don't cool off. I like your warmth"
prompted by Summertime Clothes by Animal Collective
"How was your day?" He asks.

"Up and down," I say. "How about yours?"

He goes on to write me a paragraph about how he hit traffic on the way to work and then work was fine but he had to do some extra cleaning to make up for his coworker showing up late and then he went home and did his volunteer work and his roommate's cat did something cute.

Then he stops.

I respond to each part of his recap. I'm glad he told me and I'm happy to listen.

But I don't say "Aren't you going to ask me to elaborate?"
I don't say "I set you up to ask me again."
I don't say "Don't you care about why my day was 'up and down'?"

I don't say this because then he would ask me again.
But I don't want him to ask me again because I asked him to ask me.
I just want him to ask me.
I know he already asked me.
I don't know why, but I need him to ask me twice.

Blame it on the way I was raised.
Blame it on him not knowing how to have a conversation.
I didn't even know this was bugging me until I was writing this down.

We never have conversations.
We both just make comments and then return to silence.
He doesn't know how to ask questions
And I won't allow myself to say anything unless directly requested.

So I leave my hints and he doesn't take them.
I make my jokes, and he just chuckles like he's trying make a bad comedian feel better.

He asks me how my day was and I say it was up and down and he doesn't ask me what happened.
I know he meant that in the first question.

I don't know why I need to be asked twice.
a journal entry
Walking through the deserted night, I descend into the valley and reserve my strength.
I come across a man. His eyes won't focus and his tongue trips over his pretty words.
He says "I would be yours if you do me this one favor."
He says "I am so parched, I couldn't give my love without a small sip." I offer him my canteen since I have a sip to spare.
But he pours what I offer into his own reservoir,
does not drink it, and then asks for more.
But I had no more to spare. Only enough for a small sip for myself.

So I continue on up the hill before me and I know I must pace myself.
I meet a girl with lines on her arms and X's on her legs.
She says she met that man down below and he gave her these scars.
She says "now I'm lost. But once I'm found, I can give you the love you desire. Could you do me this one favor and help me find my way?"
So I ask where she is hoping to go.
She says she wants the man in the valley.
She says she's sure so I lead her back to him and she screams:
"You never wanted to help me, did you?!"
She rages at me and snatches my canteen only to swallow down the last drops.
I run. Up the mountain again.

I find a boy singing to himself.
He says I can sit with him until I catch my breath.
So I do, and I ask him questions and he makes me laugh.
He says my laugh sounds like a song he never wants to end.
So he kisses me and his lips taste like sand to my dry tongue.
But I kiss him back anyway and he falls through my fingers and flies away on the wind. I crawl away, choking on the dryness in my lungs.

As I reach the top of the mountain, I collapse.
My chapped lips against the dewy grass.
A hand gently touches my shoulder and I watch as they fill my canteen from their own and we are both full.
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