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Catherine H May 2017
The summer comes with storms
And all the world is awash with rage
Awash with fear
Awash with love
The pear blossoms have started to fade from all the rain
Something like this heart
but blooming all the while even as it falls
and gets washed away
The world has slowly,
slowly turned its face towards the sun
And I have slowly,
slowly turned my face towards you
One more terrifying thing that I have become enamored with
Like space
Like God
Like everything else grand and beautiful and terrifying
Like the way my heart trembles when you look at me
My pulse has gone to thunder in my ears
There is some violence in this:
that you have struck me,
through the heart,
through the heart.
How ordinary have I become for this infatuation?
Waxing poetic about your eyes
and the way you feel something like a satellite to me
As you un-align the planets
and drift steadily away
So that you may grow
and shake
and die in solitude
Oh, what a dream
To be mourned and free
To become like the stars
To be all alone among a million suns
The rage fills me just like the world
Warms me like you wouldn't
And I have no shame for it-
for my rage
or even my grief
I have created an altar for it inside myself
I have lit candles and laid down flowers in remembrance
of you
and every other celestial body that has died within me
even as you shine
even as you grow
even as you live
White dwarfs,
and supernovae,
and black holes of love
all kept inside this chest;
Inside this heart
My own little universe of lost affections
And I am closer to understanding God than I have ever been;
Closer to understanding why we have all been made to ache
and burn;
Closer to understanding that it is easier to hurt and be hurt
than it is to be unknown
Catherine H Jul 2015
Two winters ago you took me outside into the falling snow
and showed me how to chip away the ice on my windshield
so that I could see again.
Like everything else, you made it into an art,
taking each piece away with your callused hands
as though you were removing the delicate cerulean shell of a Robin's egg.
You would take those same roughened fingertips
and run them along the notches of my spine,
and the bones at my sides that curled together to form a cage around my lungs.
You did it gently, but with purpose, like a man
laying down bricks and mortar, preparing to build a home.
And you built foundations inside of me like sand castles.
You didn't anticipate the oceans in my eyes -
the way my pain would crash onto me, like choppy waters coming to shore in waves.
Or maybe you didn't care.
And you left images upon me, like a trail of bread crumbs.
Little blots of blues and greens that clung to your fingers after painting
appeared in shades like the hues of a fading bruise on my body,
staining my skin like tea on teeth.
You put mountain tops on my shoulder blades,
and sprawling forests against the swells of my thighs,
and you made me into a masterpiece.
You made me into something pretty enough to be loved,
but paint washes away like everything else.
And waves always return to shore.
And my hands were always soft as silk,
because I never saw the point of building something that would fall apart in the end.
I liked the way snowflakes caught in my eyelashes.
I loved the feel of the bitter winter wind, because I was born in the summertime,
and the sun was a reminder of everything I never wanted,
but the sunrise made you feel alive in a way I never could.
You always told me you could build a house from the ground up,
but if the wooden supports got rotted through, there was no hope for saving.
When I found pins pushed underneath your fingernails,
you said it was less painful than loving me.
Catherine H May 2017
Fallen angel loves her father
Loves to be healed by scripture
Prays for guidance
Prays for forgiveness
Aches for home
Aches somewhere deep and empty in her chest
Feels sad and unsteady;
Separate and disjointed from her siblings
Doesn't brush her hair
Sleeps too late
Forgets to eat three square meals
Fills herself with coffee and day old pastries
Rides the train all night
Avoids the gazes of others
Cries into the neck of her t-shirt
Writes her diary in a confusing mix of first and third person
Tells her therapist stories she hears from strangers
Buys books on philosophy and anatomy
Reads them and the Bible side-by-side
Feels small and insignificant
Misses her family
Wishes she was made less hollow
Wonders why her father never speaks of her
Wonders why he only talks about her brothers
Forgets she is heavenly
Forgets she is a creature of divine engineering
Forgets her failings are her father's too
Forgets her wings
Longs for a mother
Longs for a soft, warm home
Looks out the window at dusk and dawn
Marvels at the way the darkening-
the lightening echoes inside of her
Decorates her skin
Fills herself with more meaningless things
Something like a house
Something like a conversation
Colors her eyes
And her lips
And her fingers
All blue like her soul
Startles at her own reflection
At how she looks like she's freezing
Or suffocating
Or drowning
Realizes that she was made cold and empty;
That she was never breathing to begin with.
Catherine H Jun 2015
Please don't tell me it ends like this.
Please don't tell me this is how I go.
Every  morning I force optimism into my veins-
like medicine;
like ******.
I let it drip drip under my skin,
the fluid moving like it would through
the twists and turns and chilly burns
of a plastic IV.
I stayed in a hospital for ten days.
My bed had plastic sheets
and my roommate had panic attacks in her sleep.
They always asked me how I felt.
How do I feel?
How do I feel?
I feel nothing at all
I feel everything,
and like paints bleeding into one another,
the colors lose their definition,
and the light fades into nothing,
and my mind is made a murky place.
I can't believe that everything happens for a reason.
My heart doesn't beat that way.
When I **** my head I can hear the rush of my blood.
Why did my uncle bury his own heart?
Why did he build castles just to leave?
I can't make sense of this-
I won't let myself.
They say Icarus died because of his pride,
but maybe he knew that we all **** ourselves in the end.
Maybe he found a way to the light.
Is hopelessness a sin?
If hell is punishment then what is this?
When I drink I feel closer to God.
I feel like I can float through
the cracks in my walls and join the angels.
But my father drank himself through twenty years
and his joints gathered rust.
There is a kind of beauty in the darkness.
Maybe that's where our momentum is meant to take us.
Maybe death is like a static screen.
Can we move through it?
Around it?
Within it?
In school they told us that matter cannot be destroyed.
How is it then that we destroy ourselves so wonderfully?
I don't know what I was before this.
Tabula rasa.
Someone painted 'DISASTER' inside my head.
I don't remember having steady hands.
I wonder if I could feel an earthquake.
Isn't it funny how this world loves to hurt?
I admit, pain is a captivating thing.
Our bodies were made to be resilient,
our minds elastic,
but our souls?
They are spun like spiderwebs,
or glass,
or fairy floss in grubby little hands.
We were made to fall apart.
Our lungs were meant to burn.
I stopped picking at my scabs when
I was ten years old, but my finger tips still itch,
and I still have the scar from when
I fell on a piece of broken glass.  
I used to make jokes about it-
say I got it from trying to **** myself,
but now I have scars from that too.
Something still pulls inside of me when I smile,
but it feels a little easier,
like walking on a mending bone.
Maybe one day the rain will be
the only thing to make my teeth creak.
A lot of the time I still feel smothered,
like wallpaper painted over.
Maybe all I'll ever be is a forgotten ship,
but at least I'll still be something.
And I'll still be made of the same stuff as stars,
and maybe that will be enough.
Catherine H Jun 2015
I move through time like a ghost.
You move through me like a house.
You want me to make you my home.
I wasn't made to own anyone.
Can you see past what I have made this skin into?
I'm not any prettier on the inside.
I am smoke.
I am coal.
I am what settles after a natural disaster.
And still, I grow.
I grow.
I grow.
Into nothing at all.
What will I become?
There is a garden in your lungs.
You breathe violets onto me.
You make me dream the way a blind man might-
no colors,
only sounds;
just words shaking apart in my chest.
I could be so lovely for you,
if only I was made another way.
I could follow you into the void.
I could follow you into oblivion.
Can you take me to the place angels go?
Can you make me feel the way the sky does when the moon is fresh and small?
paint me pretty,
and strong,
and whole.
I am not a graveyard.
Will you make a monument of me?
You make me feel bright blue,
like irises moving in the wind;
so ready to fall apart.
I have put down roots in this shining countryside,
and I am clutching at dirt,
and grass,
and moving things,
and I am trying not to drift away.
I think this summer wants to take me.
Do you still weep for me?
The rain seems to stay away.
I have counted twenty-six clouds in the sky.
They have taken the shape of your hands on my skin.
I am shaking-
My bones fall into one another.
I never ate my greens.
You used to ask me questions about the skin above my ankles.
Do you still think of me?
This summer wants to take me.
When we were sixteen I burned you with the brightly glowing cherry of a cigarette.
You kissed me like water,
like glass,
like breathing.
Can you take me to the place behind the sky?
I want to be a mountain.
I want to grow and grow.
The river used to speak to me.
It said, "Collapse."
It said, "It will only hurt a little."
But I am just a stone.
I still feel like I'm falling.
I was born in July.
Somewhere, people wept.
I came out of my mother kicking and screaming.
I took pieces of her with me.
I think she should have named me
or Chaos,
or Cancer.
Would you have loved me then?
I was not made a good thing.
My eyes are windows,
my mouth a door,
and my heart?
It is but dust.
But ash.
But embers hot on skin.
I burn. I burn. I burn.
I cannot belong to you,
or anyone.
The smell that follows lightening?
That is what I am.
I fade into black.
I fade into nothing.
This is the thing I want to be:
I want to speak to God.
I want to give him back this anguish-
eighteen years worth.
Would he take this ******, beating thing?
I will ask him this:
Why are we so permanent?
The stuff we are made of-
its sticks to things;
to fingers and minds and memories.
You build me again in your head.
Let me be forgotten.
Let me be-
Let me be-
Let me be light.
Catherine H Oct 2015
This is what I remember:
the rasp of your callouses against my hips,
and the way your eyelashes would settle
like snowflakes on my cheekbones
if you brought your face close enough.
This is what I remember:
the whir of the air conditioner
struggling against the afternoon heat.
Too short shorts.
Vinyl diner seats sticking to my thighs,
pulling uncomfortably at the skin.
Blueberry cobbler and coffee left too long in the ***.
I don't know if it was me
or you
or me with you-
the way I would bruise pretty and quick
beneath your fingertips,
like a summer peach just shy of overripe.
This is what I remember:
filling myself with you and dime-book poetry,
both worn by time and the carelessness of others.
My wet hair on your pillowcase.
Your eyes.
Your eyes.
Your eyes;
irreverent and devoted.
There was religion in you-
divine words written in the spaces between your ribs.
You took whiskey like holy communion.
And me too.
Your bedroom faced the East.
Mornings were molasses and sugarcane and dragging feet.
This is what I remember:
ruined shoes and over-stretched T-shirts.  
The smell of lake water.
Mud between my toes.
Changing leaves floating down around me.
Cold doesn't come here like other places.
Snow gathers on trees and in hair and melts easy.
This is what I remember:
warming my hands in your coat pockets,
then with cups of tea-
Earl Grey brewed so strong it made my head ache.
I am more used to night terrors than I ever was to you.
This is what I remember:
The flu in September,
then again in December.
You felt more like a fever dream than anything else-
difficult to recall.
You left me sixteen voice mails;
sixteen unheard messages;
sixteen times I pressed nine to delete.
This is what I remember:
Catherine H Jan 2017
Do not confuse my kindness for honesty.
Do not mistake this sweet spun fiction as anything more than a balm for the hurt.
Darling, I am lying through my teeth.
I am naught but a dark and terrible thing,
opened wide for the world to witness all my horrors.
Not unlike a mausoleum.
not a mausoleum.
I am not filled with death.
I am not filled with anything.
Sorrow created me.
I grew up from a bed of grief and hemlock.
I razed myself through the inferno.
I stood,
the world cracked and popped
as my body trembled with resistance.
I am the goddess of wrath;
Of war;
Of chaos;
Of furious broken hearts.
Who is it that comes to me like dawn on the horizon?
All blinding light and shivering roses;
All you;
All you.
Gaze upon me.
My hands are warm but my heart is shaking.
I haven't been seen in centuries.
There is not much of me to know,
but if you touch me I shall bloom.
If you touch me I shall grow into you-
Like violets;
Like violence.
A sudden stifling,
paralyzing sort of anguish sweeps in.
I don't want to be beautiful.
I want to be alive.
Will you place flowers at my feet instead?
Heather for my loniless,
Larkspur for my fickleness-
treat this body as a memorial.
Put me in a gown and set me on a pyre.
Oh, and I should burn for this,
but I beat on.
Wings against the sun,
I beat on.
Memories like woven gossamer,
like damp ink and rain.
Only the dust will remember us.
You may dismiss me now.
I will stare on with rapt attention.
Blindingly still, you shine.
And I did know you;
And I was close to you.
But there is nothing more to me than this:
The break.
I shift,
My bones hiss and pop.
I am a house settling.
I am a home burning .
I beat on.

— The End —