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BR Apr 2019
close your eyes⁣
lay your body down in the green of mine⁣
soft and rooted in earth⁣
veins of life reaching into soil ⁣

rest ⁣
place your hand in the center of my chest⁣
where wildflowers gather⁣
in full bloom ⁣
and you among them ⁣

my love is not a serenade⁣
my love is an aubade ⁣
not an evening, but a morning song⁣
warm and full of new sight;⁣
let me be your eyes ⁣

you are not what you see ⁣
you are not what you have seen every day that you can remember ⁣
let me be your eyes ⁣

I see a blue dark sky ⁣
oil slick rich with violet, gold, and white ⁣
wild and endless, ⁣
I feel so small in comparison ⁣

my love is not a serenade ⁣
my love is not the weight of expectation ⁣
or an entitlement to experience ⁣
it is clean and unrequiring ⁣

you are not what you see;⁣

close your eyes⁣

BR Oct 2018
I am sixteen, ⁣
walking down winnie in the middle of summer⁣
heat waving thick fingers in the air, taunting ⁣
I am wearing sweatpants and a hoodie ⁣
all my layers of self and self defeating comfort eating are not enough to cover me ⁣
I have the hood pulled over my hair ⁣
*****, too short, uncared for⁣

I am carrying a novel, something cheap and badly written ⁣
a friend from school passes by me, waves, I turn away ⁣
pretend I don't see them ⁣
I stuff my hands in the soft pockets, grab a handful of hip meat, it feels like that scene in Lord of the Rings where juice runs down the chin of a false king⁣

I wear anxiety heavy around my face, I don't recognize myself without it⁣
but depression is not a word I can touch⁣
it doesn't fit me ⁣
it doesn't belong in my charismatic vocabulary ⁣
I don't know that I am drowning ⁣

wet mouth smacking and finger tapping make me feel like my mind is an experimental horror film ⁣
how are small sounds so loud? ⁣
how do they crawl into my ear canal like an animorph alien? ⁣
I was always so afraid of those books ⁣
and the sounds outside of our tent when my brother read them to me ⁣
I am so afraid of everything ⁣

I am sixteen ⁣
It's 98 degrees outside ⁣
and I am walking down the street in three layers of winter gear ⁣
and fear ⁣
and self hatred ⁣
and I cannot identify it ⁣
I don't know that I will be beautiful ⁣
I don't know that I already am ⁣
I don't know that my hands will pick wildflowers out of words ⁣
and that my life will be a practice of arranging bouquets for kitchen tables ⁣
I don't know that my hair will be long and easy to twirl around one finger, without thinking about the action ⁣
actions won't always feel like eyes watching me in and of themselves ⁣

I don't know that I will pull on jeans without thinking about the way they don't lay flat against me ⁣
I don't know that curves can be custard on the tip of a finger, sweet and nostalgic tapioca, ⁣
gritty and dimpled and perfect for sundays⁣
and mine and plenty ⁣
and pretty ⁣

I don't know that I will be beautiful ⁣
I don't know that I already am ⁣

BR Jul 2018
it's the first fifteen seconds of messes of men

and the newly wed couple coming out of that church in Ireland

bathed in light and new union

her red lips are so clean in my memory

kissing the hand of her husband

a safe place

surrounded by green and the anticipation of the unknown future

it's my father's square hand, pressed to my forehead, praying

it’s the way his face looks when he speaks in another language, meant only for God

and the sound of his voice when he read to us as children

it's the way a river moves me

with its inherent music,

and I close my eyes

it's the sunlight turning everything into honey

and the taste of the morning

and the sound foliage makes under wandering feet

it's watching the pine trees move by in slow, flickering movements,

like the pictures on a roll of film,

set to the sound of hymns

rising and falling with the passing mountains,

like we’re breathing together

in sync

it's a senseless homesickness

and a piercing, unutterable ache

It's the frustration of never being able to say what I mean

it's the relief of not needing to

it's the first fifteen seconds of messes of men

and the comfortable silence between friends

it’s the distance between us

it's the way I don't

it's the way you

BR Jun 2018
My mind is an open palm, raised to the trees
avowing and disavowing the love of sunlight,
and translating fractured thoughts caught on the breeze like cottonwood seeds,
snatched by a hand in the air;
like the way we used to catch mosquitoes, and ended up with one one another's mingled blood crushed into the lines on our palms
and to be honest,
I didn't mind it so much.

I guess I wanted to reclaim something
I guess I wanted to take back a little of the life that was siphoned from us

I am sick of lifeblood being stolen and replaced with poison, and the anticoagulant that keeps it flowing long enough that we never know we've been bitten until it's gone, and carried away in someone's belly, where it melts into so many others inside their stomachs

It's so easy to let your heart get to racing, long enough that you don't know what's being taken from you. Like the first time I let a man take off my shirt in the back of his car; he used his hands  to show me where I could stand to be improved; carving another woman into the air,
and she would live there like a ghost for so many years.

Sometimes I still see her.

Sometimes I am afraid that I'll never know what it's like to feel safe in the eyes of a man.

But I always feel like that now; peeled clean, exposed, disrobed to the heels in front of everyone. And there are so many hands, creating ghosts for me to fear. I am afraid of being afraid to let anyone near me, especially since I welcome it so easily.

God help me.
God help us.

There is comfort in being crushed to one another;
our essences coalescing in our minds and open hands crashing together to catch the cottonwood memories, stinging before we know what’***** us.
There is comfort in being bled together, our grief being wed together, and being folded into one another in the bellies of sleepless nights.

God help us
There is nothing I can do except feel numb next to you.
God help us,
There is nothing I can do except feel alive in pain next to you.

My mind is an open palm, raised in a question,
Translating fractured thoughts,
Caught between us.
BR May 2018
Did you know that if you leave your car in your driveway,
With the keys in the ignition,
And someone sits down in the front seat like they own it, and drives away,
You are the one who is liable for theft?
They can drive that sucker to the coast.
They can burn the upholstery with their cigarettes. They can bring their friends into the back seat, and fill the compartments with their refuse, and ****, and they can leave it ruined in front of your house, or crushed into the median on the highway, or left in disconnected pieces under an overpass.
It will be called, “unauthorized use of a vehicle.”
It will be called a “misdemeanor.”
But you left the car running.
Weren't you kind of asking for it to happen?

They said,
(Gesturing to the skirt which fell to two inches
above my kneecap),
Is like that.

If I walk outside of my house in jeans and a t-shirt, or a long dress with thin straps,
Or with my chin tilted out,
Or with long eyelashes,
Or with full lips,
Or with my hips swaying when I walk,

It's like I left the car running.

It's like I invited them to force their bodies into the front seat.
In their minds, or with their hands, or with their lips to anyone who would listen to them.

Little girls in leotards become like unlocked car doors;
Where men can burn their cigarettes into their skin,
Or stick their fingers in
In plain view of their parents,
And told to let it happen,
It isn't theft,
It's “a medical examination.”

What did they expect?
It isn't a theft.
She was just as guilty of negligence.
It isn't really a felony.
It's not THAT BAD. (Stop being so dramatic.)
It's the unauthorized use of your body, for a time, or one night,
or every time you close your eyes for the rest of your life,


But you left the car running.
BR May 2018
Turn. Tug. Pull at my dress where the buttons came undone in the scuffle. Point to the clavacle, a little blue. Trace it with your cruel fingers. Talk like it was your right to take my body into your mind and do what all red blooded men want to do. What they're made to do. I wanted it. Draw the strands of my hair into your nostrils, and close your eyes in what will look like a prayer for chastity, to the very blind. You enjoyed the way it felt to undress me with your words in front of everyone, and nobody stopped you.
I bet it felt powerful.
I bet it felt like freedom, to flick your tongue to taste the air right out there in the open.

You are not free.
And, forgive me,
But I do not believe that men were made to pull off the buttons. I do not believe they were born to take our bodies into their minds, or into the back seat of their cars, or behind dumpsters, or into empty laundry rooms where no one can hear the screaming.

Forgive me,
but it's *******.

Men do not have to be cowards, or dogs, or drunkards, or the way it feels to have the pillows ripped out from under your head for saying "please, not tonight."

You are not free.

(But you could be.)

My sisters and I were placed on the front step in front of the house, where red blooded bodies were begging for red blood, and ***, and somebody's virtue to ravage.
They said, "take our daughters."

It was our innocence which made us the perfect consolation prize. A tidy meal to tide them over.

The truth is coming like a sword.
The truth is coming like water.
The truth is coming like a sword.
The truth is coming like fire.
BR May 2018
it's the way her hand moves back and forth in the air
as she's thinking
Like a maestro, conducting
an orchestra;
but it's her mind,
cue the crash of cymbals,
-- and silence.
Cue the image of her ex husband,
and the flat landscape which was their marriage
and the heat which hovered on the horizon,
like unreachable dreams,
taking on the form of
but she cracked with dry reality.
cue the salt on her lips

-- crash.


and here we bring in the street preacher,
who can't keep his eyes on her face.

he reminds her if the desert.

he reminds her that sometimes we must cover up the curves to keep from stumbling our weak brothers who cannot resist the presence of wine,
(but she is not the wine.)
women are not the wine,
and men are not the drunkards.
women are not the wine,
or any other intoxicating substance.
neither are they meat sacrificed to idols,

or meat at all.
cue the crash of resounding cymbals
and it breaks her train of thought
but it does not break her
and the desert did not **** her
and the drunkard can not taste her

cue the crash

-- and silence.
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