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since i was small,
i wanted to live forever.

every dawn is a hit of reality
and i’m eager for another.
and another.
and another.

i exhale, my cool breath hitting the air -
flavored with desperation;
is it so wrong to want more?

i wilt, only slightly, thinking about the end.

when i slouch in my chair,
i feel my heart shift closer to the soil at my feet

and i do not sink in the midst
of the flood -
i do not lose myself in the rainwater
pooling at my ankles -
i do not clench my eyes shut,
fearing where i will go
when i do

i need this more than you,
i swear.

and when i feel the back of the chair
digging into my spine
or the quiet, creeping ache of age
tugging on strands of my hair,
i resist; i deny it

the adrenaline of dawn’s kiss
is my defense against the rot,
but the night reminds me
of being small with skinned knees and a medicated wish.

i surrender, subject to the infestation of memory -
yet, my oldest prayer continues to echo
in every inch of this room:

sempervirens, sempervirens
(always green, always green)
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i wonder, at what age
you became out of my reach;
i wonder, if i even
tried reaching for you

i know that history leaves its mark on everyone
(but not many have been hurt by the tracks
left behind in the dirt
like you have)

you can sit there for days, weeks, months
while we contemplate your fate,
tossing the choices in our hands
like dice

you hear the word expendable
mumbled in countless conversations
and wonder, at what age
you became in our reach

you think of the family you left behind
and hope they will find their way to tennessee
to a better life that is  
quiet. peaceful.

will they miss your selflessness;
your keen, incisive way with words;
the bumps and hills of your rough skin;
the smell of your perfume?

i miss your evergreen smile;
your poetry;
your skin against mine;
the wonder in your eyes
First Draft
the jersey breeze
cultivates her curls,
as they bounce in the crisp air.

she’s the reason you can’t sleep at night.

the day breaks
into song when you meet her gaze;
she hums along, her voice
soft - like red velvet.

against the green
wallpaper in her room
she looks so beautiful

you wonder if she can sleep at night.

the night falls, and
in your rest she grows a foot taller,
becoming wise, like the book of poetry
you leave by your nightstand.

her friends know
that is she the one
who spreads herself thin to block the sun when it’s too hot.

she sleeps without closing her eyes.

her moments blend into the next ones:
she is so refreshing - even when she is thirsty;
and the acorns fall from her pockets;
and the deer come running;

and we all sleep soundly.
she has so much to tell the world,
and she does so through song.
an early riser, she wakes for her tune,
she waits for her moment, and begins.

if you were to ask her friends, in their delight,
what they think of their friend the robin,
they would tell you
that she’s never speechless when the sun is up.
they would tell you
that her passion overflows like a new england river in april.
they would tell you
that she’s hurting, but they don’t know why.

if you were to ask her, in her sorrow,
what she makes of herself,
she would tell you
that she refuses to be expendable
she always shares what she is thinking.
she would tell you
that the river is much too low -
pray for rainfall, she suggests.
she would tell you
that her pain is nothing but genuine. nothing but love.
the stage is set;
the day is still;
the grass is fresh,
coated lightly by the drops of dew.
the curtain hides the scene from all,
until the right hour is among us;
soon, it is pulled back by the sight of Earth’s lover.
the days are as long as we think they are,
for as long as we can count
we will assume the answers, and stop looking for them
in the rings of trees.
but still, we will confront the rings of trees
as we make the cut – so clean –
and later, when the show has ended,
the stage has been swept,
you return to your house,
and you slip into your bed,
you will think of the shapes of the trees in the darkness
but they will no longer stand.
and the shadow is not yours
but it will follow you, all the days of your life.
in the darkness, i wish i could be somewhere else.
for now, however, i put the pen down as the music begins. i lay here. gone
the weight of the night falls on my shoulders, and i
curl up, and embrace myself, as if i am holding myself together
afraid i might get up and go away
and suddenly i am standing

lost in a symphony of nostalgia about that final line, a standing
i am not pleased with. but, what else?
at night, my doubt whisks me away
and i am gone
into the air; rhythmically, i think of when we were together
you and i

and now, just i.
with my arms to my sides and my hands clasped together
knowing that you are with someone new. someone else
where have i gone?
i tuck myself in bed, resting with every reason why you went away.

and i wish i could be away,
too. it’s somewhere i
wish we could’ve gone
together. we dreamt of standing
still at the hearts of forests, of deserts, of everywhere else

(was my favorite place to be, but i don’t know what that means anymore: together.)
it trembles off my tongue, my mouth desperately sending it away
to haunt someone else
so it does, it departs. yet i can feel the weight of the loss, and i
am no longer standing.
i lay back down. i put the pen down, not knowing that i picked it up. i am gone

gone, but never forgotten; forgotten, but never gone
what breaks me is the distance that keeps us from being together
and, then, a melodic voice (my own): “why are you standing?”
is it because your breath has been taken away?
have nothing but these words. I KNOW NOTHING ELSE

LIKE POETRY KNEW ME. now gone, the darkness won’t stay away.
we are frozen in time, together, and i
am standing. again. i go somewhere else.
the water’s edge:
i find my peace.
for here, i pledge
will i release.

the way i walk
speaks odes to me;
for when i talk,
i trudge my feet.

my voice, a ghost;
my heart, a race;
i guard my post
and hide my face.

but at the sea,
i slow my mind.
i wish, for me,
i could be kind.

taboo, is this -
pain spews within
(society’s bliss
a secret sin)

so in Her light,
i dream of peace -
for here, i might
find a release.
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