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i hold your hand
and brush lightly my thumb
back and forth against yours.
my shoulder is strong beneath you head.
i reach up my left hand to catch a tear
that's gotten away from you, and
careful not to let my fingers  shake,
i put every ounce of my attention into that motion
trying to make you understand
feeling the feeling words pouring from my finger
to your cheek, hot like blood through veins
a whisper, a shout, a certainty
"i am here i am here i am here"
but you are lonely lonely lonely
and so cold you shiver
in my drafty old house.
"i loved it"
that's what i'll proclaim
and pounce on any opportunity to say
how sweet it was, all of it
the peaches on my porch
the leeches in the lake
the alphabet song, story time
libraries and secrets and sunshine and play
imagination, creation
disbelief, fascination at things
i now take as given

"i loved it"
i'll announce to anyone who'll listen
recounting the laughter and the adventure
the brightness of eyes and sun
the thrill of the unknown
curiosity, shoelaces, flower stickers, beach sand
and they'll smile and speak of toyland
nostalgic awe collecting in the corners of their eyes
and i will smile and offer in agreement
"i loved it"

because i will have forgotten the hopelessness, the fear
the harsh words and hard hands
the mind games the guilt
the disgusted eyes and false goodbyes
that a set of small hands I barely remember
set aside on my bedside table
under a white sheet just barely covering the edges
and a sign written shakily in pink glitter pen
"do not disturb; she's sleeping"

and whenever i face my tooth brushing reflection
or lie awake in a stranger's bed
when i find myself wandering alone in a crowned place
and a memory sparks and burns slowly, etched in scattered flecks in my brain
that quickly become clearer
their touch certain and desperate
their trace slow to fade
i'll shut my eyes and wait
for all those frozen thoughts to melt away
and they will
i'll make them
washed off down squeezed lashes,
brushed to the side they'll fall
and i will rest my head against the wall
fill my head with thoughts of "tragic beauty"
grit my teeth into a smile
and when my heart has been ground into a powder so fine
it resembles an ocean
and in liquid form can almost be called whole again
i'll believe myself when my mouth finds the shape of
"i loved it"
everyone's face drips
you know
you've seen it
your face drips too
sticky skin sap sinking down
you don't see but you can feel it
in a cognitive mirror that shudders
and 72 silver tears from your mother
all the while he looks for his brother in the dark like he always has
45 minutes on a bike in the rain
but you feel nothing but her breath
you're gone from this world
a dropped thread in a quilted universe that was never patched for you
her dewy rasps from burned lungs tired lungs
innocent lungs crushed
by a heart too biBreath too fast for one so small
pigtails flying behind her
like the piece of string that flew off the back of his car that december
and just as fleeting.
you insisted we were music and i laughed
and told you no
we were a record
and though we housed music inside us
a stranger to our world might look at us spinning
and forget what was there
before they even became aware of it.
that beauty was hidden in the dark thick grooved and hard
you can't just run your bathroom sink expecting to think of shining rivers
when you know whose blood has been washed down the drain
and just how much.

i think i was right
but for the wrong reasons.
i think there were nights when we spun and spun
scratched by some needle just out of our control
scraped in just the right places to make us sing or scream
but only just enough so we wouldn't bleed
i think we learned to worship the sting that came
from being a found thing in the world of the lost
after all, there are smart phones and ipods and streams
but i guess even shipwrecks have anchors.
maybe that's what you meant.
I want to stab myself with love
I want to rip open my chest
and tear off my ribs one by one
and scream kindness like a gunshot
to fill the empty space.

I want to pull my heart up from my throat
—scraping, bleeding—
pierce it with a thousand needles
answer plant seeds of hope to sprout, wild and fevered
quick and ready and sure
like flowers in the rain.

I want my limbs to get caught on a snag of beauty
and be torn from me, stuck in the brambles
because like attracts like
and I am beauty
but my body, it doesn't know.

I want to strip from myself my ligaments and tendons
like wires from a wall
—if I'm truly an electrician of the soul
I should know what's gone wrong—
with a little compassion sewn into my veins
maybe I'd be like new.
I was really angry and wanted to write something violent but I also wanted to be nice to myself, and this is what happened.
it's midnight here and time feels frozen
and i wonder if it really were
and i were to walk through borders and stop signs
past silent horns and stilled traffic lights

windshield wipers caught mid slash and
music stopped in every father's daughter's minivan and
desperate drivers with tired eyes
suspended in lives
that i will never understand
it's been three months since i last touched your hand
you are a thirty minute hourglass and i'm exhausted sand
you are a thirty minute hourglass and i'm exhausted sand
you are a thirty minute hourglass and i'm exhausted

"it's not too bad" that's just what you'll say
and your voicemail sounds so far away
well that's too bad
always scared that you're okay
it's not hard to say "i'll keep you safe"
when you've never had to save the day
it's not that i think that you're to blame
i just think the shots have changed
I miss you ugh
when you were in it it just was
and when it started to leave you wept
and you thought you wept for the place
but you didn't
you wept for what was ignorance of the things that never were
for the negative space of your world
a silent goodbye to the part of yourself that trusted
that where you were was a beautiful place
always a beautiful place.

and you resisted the guilt, the cognizant thinking
the inexplicable summer sadness
the unbearable uncertainty and dreaded impermanence
that came with the repressed and bottled message
you threw adrift in your brain sea
never to be found by a living thing.
a lil poem about growing up and having your perception of the world change oh man
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