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something about you. something about october
the dried up leaves and the way everything feels quiet
in the middle of the day
like living inside of a vhs tape that hasn't been rewound
in a decade or two
makes me want to start visiting the cemetery
make friends with the forgotten
when we ended up walking the dogs there on accident
it felt like coming home
i'll bring my books and a bag of dried cherries, peanut butter
bars of dark chocolate wrapped in gold foil, sunflower seeds
the nightstand with the warped wooden drawer
that's always getting stuck
where i keep the half-melted birthday candles
and a box of matches, just in case
prop my pillow up against a headstone
read vonnegut until i fall asleep
grow closer to death until it doesn't scare me anymore
i used to think ghosts lived in mausoleums but now i know
they live inside of a twenty-four-year-old who watches
the same vampire movie every time it rains
just to feel safe inside the familiarity of the past
i'm still the twelve-year-old girl
just waiting for something to happen to her
i burn my skin in the shower just to feel less alone
Madisen Kuhn Sep 7
my whole life
i have been looking
for myself in the
gaze of someone else

i wonder what would
happen if i never cut
my hair again
or if i walked into the woods
and never looked back

when i was a little girl
you told me that
vampires couldn’t see
their own reflection

every day i run
my tongue over the
sharp points of
my teeth
burning to forget
the taste
of strangers’ wrists
Madisen Kuhn Aug 2019
This time next week, I hope I will be breathing the air that I’ve been gasping for. I didn’t realize that four months could feel like four broken bones, two arms, two legs, all secretly cracked, only felt under the weight of my own invisible dread. It’s okay that I went back to being sixteen for awhile. It’s not what I wanted, what I planned for, but it’s what happened. I woke up with butterflies in my stomach and the rug ripped out from under me. My car sits in the driveway and I don’t drink coffee anymore because it makes me shake and I don’t know how to handle the shaking like I used to. I never used to worry about sharing drinks yet today I’ve washed my hands fifteen times and still don’t trust them. But it’s August and I’m twenty-three again. Or at least I will be when the key slides into the lock and I take that big gulp and pray for it to add a few years back that were taken away this summer. Everything is a circle cut in half, alternating between hollow and whole, snaking through time with hysterical pseudo endings and beginnings that are really just doors leading down a different hallway in the same ******* infinite hotel. Sometimes Wes Anderson’s, sometimes The Shining. I don’t have to listen to the yelling for the rest of my life if I don’t want to. I don’t have to be so unhappy if I don’t want to. Maybe next Saturday I will drive to the coffee shop on the corner and order something decaf and sugary and thank god that it’s over. It’s over. *******. The leaves will be turning orange soon. I almost forgot.
Madisen Kuhn Jun 2019
i want to write about you
but i think it might be too soon

i am stopped on the cracked cement
next to a small but necessary park
in the middle of it all

there are hundreds of thousands of windows
shut tightly to keep the cool air in

the only chickens for miles
are being served up on plates
between college roommates
and lovers who find the city
more romantic than any
vague resemblance of a kiss
exchanged quickly on a narrow step
  
but still, i carry around my wicker basket
packed with old egg cartons
and carefully folded tea towels

i memorize the feeling of tired eyes that won’t look away
of how warm it is inside my bedroom with the door closed
tracing your outline in the dark

until the soft orange light of morning
paints every shadowy corner

until i have found myself feral
deep in a dark blue thicket
somewhere between you and the trees
does this make sense to anyone but me
Madisen Kuhn Jun 2019
i was riding in the passenger seat
down a meandering stretch of back road
where the mountains look
like watercolors
when i realized that
your arms feel safer
than my own mother’s

(i am afraid of what that means)

i still fall asleep
in your old heather grey t-shirt
still think of you
every time i pull a sundress
over my head

(i am afraid of what that means)

the braids in my hair
the buzzing in my chest
the left side of the bed
the small, persistent voice inside
telling me to keep going

are somehow
in some measure
still yours

(i am
in some measure
still yours)
Madisen Kuhn May 2019
at night, i dream of sun-drenched eggshell walls
baking in the morning like yukon gold potatoes
where we wake unbothered by the encroaching light
i’ll meet you in the kitchen to switch on the toaster oven
the coffee ***, pulling our ceramic mugs from the drying rack
carrying our books with bent covers to the balcony
where you set down thick slices of french bread slathered in butter
and a bowl of fresh, cold strawberries on a small round table
that we found at a sunday yard sale two summers ago
we take turns taking crisp bites in between sips of steaming coffee
mine with raw honey and cream, yours black
our oily thumbs staining the corners of thin ivory pages
i listen to the sound of you reading; of the world waking up
birds singing their sunrise songs; and my heart
slow, and buoyant, and irrevocably yours
Madisen Kuhn May 2019
the truth is

i cannot be contained like that

i cannot be taught to like water 
more than cranberry juice

i cannot pretend for decades upon decades

(years like soft footprints and malnourished
buzzards circling who i really am;
the whimsical part of me
decaying like neglected cavities)

that i enjoy self-discipline and growing muscle

i cannot cook healthy dinners 
and go to sleep at reasonable hours

i will not wake up one morning
and be everything that you hoped for me to be

i tried holding myself very still for a while
i tried to like doing what i’m supposed to

and maybe i will someday

but it won’t be because i loved you
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