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haley Feb 2022
Your lovers still linger on your breath,
biting at your tongue.

Before you speak
your words
Spill from your lips and drip down your chin.
Your Sentences tangle with saliva
like loose threads at your feet
And you leave them
To slither down the indentations in the floor
Cracks in the wood symmetrical to the lines you drew on their bodies
With your careful fingertips,
Their hearts gathering like dead skin under your nails.
haley Feb 2022
Remember those postcard summers,
Burnished by the sun?
Our feet suffering against
the heat of the yellowing grass?

Together we hopscotched,
tripping over our sneaker strings,
chasing the pavement

And I remember my feet,
peeking out from beneath frilled dresses
Hopped only for you.

And I remember how  I felt my chest clench
When the boy next door
With the hair we made fun of
Tied your shoes in double knots
And left mine uncoiled

Next summer we drew the longest hopscotch
And the boy next door had his arm around your waist
Like a dress.

My hands were tickling my pockets
For what use were they if not tangled with yours?

Do you remember those postcard summers
That weren’t so postcard at all?
haley Feb 2022
Madi Sipes collection

Am I afraid to be without you
or afraid to be alone?
Am I afraid to be with you?
for everything to feel too much like home?

I’m afraid to miss the pictures we painted
With the pads of our fingers
In the haze of car windows.
I'm afraid to walk past your house,
to wait for you at your doorstep
and find only the smudged
signatures of snails
scrawled across the concrete.

I still need you when I’m weak
and Im trying not to be weak
But its dark and
Im lonely and
I wish I was running my hands across your face

And I crave you always
But I give you space
haley Feb 2022
Madi sipes collection

Tear off my lace with your teeth
And In our vulnerable state
we’ll think the world’s weight
Has gone away,
And I won’t feel scared
Like I usually do.

Fall into me
And lull me away
I'm tired of counting sheep
Please just
Hold me till my skin stops shivering
Kiss me till I fall asleep
haley Feb 2022
I am living by the ocean,
waiting for you to wash up with the waves.
Hours stretch and yawn like a tabby cat
lazily flicking its tail to the drum of a
grandfather clock.

Has time forgotten me?
Has it left me abandoned?

Crossing days off the calendar seems almost
But, the moon still rises and sets
tending to the tides like a mother.

Missing you comes in waves,
The stillness of a pond crescendoing
to crash against the shore.
haley Feb 2021
I will fall in love with you
and my mind will feel like
when you're on the swings and you look backwards at the ground
and it feels all too close
all too ready for you to tumble into it
so you straighten back up and swallow
the bile in your throat.
haley May 2020
for Out magazine

Footprints trailed behind us as we stumbled across the moon-bleached sand, watching driftwood float across the angry sea like rescue boats. The world around us was silent, except for the crash of waves tripping over themselves. Inside my head, it was anything but quiet. There was a tornado of sand spinning inside my skull, each grain of thought impaling my brain.

He looked over to me, light from the headlamp obscuring his face from my vision.
“I’ve started dating someone.” I studied the stiff blades of grass, poking up from the sand like little swords. “She’s a girl.”
He stood up from the burrow he stooped over, “Okay.”

After my parents separated, every life event suddenly required two different stories. When I went on a date, I would come home to mom’s house and throw off my bag. Its contents would spill over, coins lodging into the cracks in the wood floor. I’d sit on the countertop, knees folded in, recounting the events of the night as my mom eagerly listened. Days later, after the night had long since turned stale, I would tell my dad too. It continued like this for eight years.

When mom and dad were married, dad used to work all the time and mom stayed home with my brother and me. I was a fashion designer and my brother was my muse. On one occasion, I dressed him up in my favorite ariel swimsuit and a pink tutu. We pranced around the neighborhood, mom speed-walking behind us like a dog walker who couldn’t keep up with her pets.
“You have such cute daughters.” said a Lady on the way home. Mom just laughed.

Sometimes, I wonder why I chose to tell Dad first. Mom and I were closer. She was the first person I told anything and everything. But, they were never together anymore. I didn’t just have to come out to my parents once, I had to do it twice.

Maybe it was because I knew my dad wouldn’t ask questions. He would deal with it on his own.

My mom wasn’t afraid to ask questions, and she asked a lot of them. I told her a week after I told my dad. We were sitting in her car, outside the house. I studied the crack in the windshield. It had been there since I was ten. She nodded, and told me she loved me, and then turned her gaze to the side window.
“Do you want to have *** with a girl, then?” She asked me. Color flushed my cheeks and somehow I knew from the expression on her face that there was a right answer.
“No,” I said.

Three years after I came out to him, dad and I were sitting in the car. I watched the lines on the highway fly by as if being eaten by the front of the car. He turned his head to face me, his eyes still occasionally flicking back to the road. He adjusted the wheel accordingly.
“I thought that it would be something we’d get through.” He paused as if his words were clinging on to his tongue, unable to come out.

“Grandpa always tells me how proud he is that I’ve supported you and I’m thinking, It was never a big deal. I never think about it.”

“Yeah, that’s the crazy thing. I didn’t think that’d happen either, honestly” I shifted in my seat uncomfortably.

“Yeah.” He said. “Mcdonalds for breakfast?”

When I was younger, I liked to put on my mom’s clothes. I’d climb into my mother’s closet like it was a cave, pickaxe in hand. I’d stomp along the floors, my naked toes fumbling with carpet, my shadow dissolving in the surrounding dark. Along the walls draped shirts and dresses, sheathed in their suit bags like bats, hanging by their feet, sequin eyes glittering in the silent black. I’d show my mom my creations and when the fashion show was over I’d stare into the mirror, wondering “What woman would come to fit this dress?” I stared into the silence of the cave, at my reflection, draped in the clothing of a woman I wished to become.

My mom would still ask me questions like the one she asked the day I came out to her. When I mentioned getting married and having a wife, she paused and leaned over the kitchen counter. “Do you think you’ll marry a woman?”
“I don’t know,”
“Are you going to have kids?”
“Yes.” I knew the correct answer to that one. She looked me up and down.
“Don’t you want kids with your DNA? With your husband’s DNA?”
“I guess.” I furrowed my brow “But I’d be okay with a ***** donor too.”

My dad was right, My sexuality was never a big deal for me. When I sat in the park with a girl I liked, our legs dangling from the swing set, I never thought about how she was a girl. Some people think that the word “homosexual” is etched on the inside of your eyelids and that every time you close them, you come face to face with reality. In truth, I hardly thought about my sexuality. But, I got the impression that my mom thought about it much more than I did.

Both my mom and my dad were supportive of me. Dad supported me with his silence and indifference. While mom supported me with her constant reassurance. Sometimes it felt like she was reassuring herself more than me.
“I got you this magazine,” she said to me one morning. It was a copy of Out.
I tossed it into the paper organizer by my desk and continued tapping on my computer.

I wanted more than anything to feel like mom wasn’t disappointed in my coming out. Or that she didn’t think of me differently because of it. At times, when she’d ask me about it, my skin would bubble and boil in anger.
“Maybe your next date could be a boy?” She would say, and my heart would plummet like a faulty elevator. I’d be teleported back to that day inside the car, staring at the cracks in the front window, perfectly symmetrical to the spiderweb splayed across the driveway in front of us.
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