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Elisa Cinelli Nov 2020
That small satisfaction that comes with weeding tiny shoots shortly after they sprout
an exhalation

Left unattended they’ll grow thick, gnarled, thorny, and impossible to pull out
fingers bleeding
healthy, white flesh exposed on a broken root left somewhere deep in the earth
Elisa Cinelli Feb 2020
bed of thorns
sinks deep
below the place your thoughts reach
you beg and you don't know what you're begging for
but I know

moonlit tables clothed in moss
tiny sparrows hopping
among the bread crusts you put out
yarn twists rhythmically
into all the blankets that kept me warm
but I can't keep you warm

Failure spits a hot odor
that's me in the bed of thorns
that's me with the key
on a ring where all the others are charred black
and only one is clean
Elisa Cinelli Mar 2020
your conditioner feels expensive
and you've arranged your books
by color
but in my small world
there is only a man
you didn't sweep the flour that fell
while you baked those cupcakes
I can't imagine him looking at you
the way he looks at me
and I'm sure you'd say the same about me
Elisa Cinelli Feb 2020
Have you ever
picked up bricks
from your own foundation?
And stood in the rain
as it fills up the rivers that sustain you

Have you ever lost someone you love
long before they can afford
to lose you

And you can't understand
why the bricks are so heavy
or how to hold them without
slipping
into the abyss
Elisa Cinelli Aug 2020
early mourning
but for you it's a long, late night
all the dishes lay broken in the cabinet
and I
pretended the shards would not draw blood
I washed them anyway

I prayed for the first time
though I once thought I'd done it all my life
I never fell to my knees
raised my clasped hands
reflexively
until your heart lay broken
in the cabinet
and I washed it anyway
early mourning
but for you it's a long, late night
all the dishes lay broken in the cabinet
and I
pretended the shards would not draw blood
I washed them anyway
writing you letters with my soul instead of my pen
life is poetry
loss I’ll never be able to reconcile
here in this human form
always broken
and not sure if I’m mad about it
every single guitar string broken now
dancing anyway
Elisa Cinelli Jul 2020
When I left the thorn bush was a tiny thing
but so strong and well rooted that I never could dig it out
and when all the ships
stopped sailing
it grew so that when I came again it blocked my way in
and you and I watch each other through the branches
but I can’t ever be with you again
Elisa Cinelli Mar 2020
the day came
that I could not see you again
I couldn't beg
or bargain
because there was
no more you
but you were my world
so there was
no more world
Elisa Cinelli Jul 2020
blue lilacs by the roadway
you hung your tattered cowboy hat
on a post, said a sweet goodbye
I wonder where its soul went

I didn’t come for coffee
I should have
a short hello before a long goodbye

I will always love you
and the white straw hat you bought me on that drive into the redwoods
when we ran out of gas
and we didn’t even mind
Elisa Cinelli Mar 2020
every wound on the soul
is an amputation
Elisa Cinelli Feb 2020
she falls for him as he falls
from reality
or rather straight
into it

I remember you
from back before our time on earth
I have already heard all of your songs

fingernails black
and blue
aluminum foil wraps legs
her heart stops
his goes
I was Harriet the Spy
to cope with your cruelty
thank god for that movie

Memories gaslight me anyway
whispering that I was wrong
and not good enough
Elisa Cinelli Apr 2020
you were never mine
and I was never yours
but there was an Us
floating somewhere between the ace of spades and a subway turnstile
clothes off in the woods
we hid amidst boughs and branches
but even in shadows we still felt so naked
splinters in my knees
as I silently begged you to stop
hands by my face
smelled of flour and water
Elisa Cinelli Mar 2020
you look at me
and your eyes are like reigns
a fisherman's net
and I am like a marble statue
that is suddenly sand
Elisa Cinelli Jul 2020
I wanted to climb into the warm bed
but I saw dirt on the covers
and stick insects scattered
when I turned them back
he told me, it’s fine

you can’t go home again

but the nights you held me
burn like wildfire
and I am the hiss of steam that escapes
when a blackened branch breaks and
crashes into cool water
Elisa Cinelli Dec 2020
Now I know why wolves howl
And the point of climbing mountains you know you'll never summit
Elisa Cinelli Feb 24
I saw you on a bench in my new upscale neighborhood
muttering unintelligibly and I
walked on by, pretending I hadn’t seen you
wondering if you’d recognized me even with your poor vision the way you do sometimes because you know my shape and the hot pink of my favorite sweatshirt

We aren’t in the beach now
where love and wine and money flow freely and music is the official language
no, this is the real world where I’m a loose feather floating up and away on the breeze you’re an apple that’s fallen to the earth

If only I had sat for a moment
I meant for this to be in sickness and in health
I thought I was better and you were worse but my eyes shifted quickly away from your silhouette so now I know we’re both suffering from separate forms of the same illness
I’m sorry
I picked up your box of matches
their packaging promised deep green forests and toasted marshmallows on sticks
and even though I saw others tied to the stake
and even though I was burned badly in my child’s play
I felt that the long cardboard box with its deep red, sandpapered edge belonged to me
Elisa Cinelli Apr 2020
reckless driver
and I kept riding shotgun

we thought
it wasn’t real life
we bled and we didn’t notice stains or
scars

how special, we thought,
to dream as two
Elisa Cinelli Mar 2020
sandcastles at the water's edge
master craftsmen
build indefinitely
I use my hands to hold back
the waves
Elisa Cinelli Jul 20
Candle flickers
frustrated, I try to keep reading
flame smaller and smaller
why can’t I light this wick?
I could not see that the string had burnt down to nearly nothing
buried in a soft and lumpy ball of wax

Again I strike
a match and burn my fingers
upside down but
I scald them again
it took so long for me to realize
you were melting, charred

And then I was sorry and lost
blind without your light
Elisa Cinelli Feb 2020
I didn't know there were chapters
and pages that turned
yellow and ripped
or that one day it would all burn

I didn't know that petals would fall
or what snow was
or black dead night

I didn't know that truth would be an illusion
or that bricks could ever crumble

Sitting in the desert sun
a thick, smooth flower bursts
from its bud
jagged spines run
up its stem while I choke
on nothing but air
Elisa Cinelli Feb 27
Trauma happens
when things that cannot happen
Happen
I sat on a bed of grass surrounded by a brick fortress
they waited until I slept under the sun
they came while I dreamed of sugarplum fairies and ripped out the bricks from the bottom to reach me
Elisa Cinelli Jan 25
the unchangeable gingerbread house
rotted eventually
but you scrambled me eggs when I met depression
gave me a chair when I could not stand
Elisa Cinelli Feb 2020
I can still taste the watermelon
sweet with huge black seeds slipping
over the top of my tongue

When I dropped it
a thousand ants appeared
faster than I could believe
it was completely covered

Is that how fast your body burned to dust?
Elisa Cinelli Apr 2020
I'm trying to remember
what day it was when you left me

the last petal fell but you
couldn't see the fruit
I had believed that you'd sink your teeth
into its flesh and taste
for yourself how far
we have come

but you cast away the branch
when the blossom
was gone
Elisa Cinelli Feb 2020
words fall
like raindrops
from smoldering pages
down into molten rivers
and wash away
the dust

— The End —