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  Jul 2020 Maia Vasconez
Tom Leveille
okay so i’m beginning to believe i was born asleep and still haven’t woken up, or caught in a day dream where my name is the answer to all your security questions. okay. a thousand years of wondering and all i can come up with is that you fell in love with me at a picnic in my imagination. the lemonade we always talk about swimming in sugar and tiny handmade sandwiches from my kitchen, your favorite, extra pickle. don’t forget about the pickles. of course the clouds march in stomping out the sunshine, of course. it was dark and there was lightning so much lightning. don’t be scared just now darling don’t be scared. in the middle of the night we only talk about your version of the story. how i’d ask you to stay, asking you to tell me what’s real asking you with my hands asking you with maps, a country called please listen to me, you should know by now that it is an island too far to sail to according to you. i know i know, who dared name an ocean lonely when all the ships are sinking. we can go back we can turn around where the sky is the gentlest shade lavender, we can go back and have a conversation that has never happened before. when everything is the color of day old bruises i won’t let you down. i promise when i get home i will count every freckle every one. when i get home can we open one of those mason jars full of fresh air because i can’t breathe. i remember that day, although i pretend it was more recent than it was. you were there in a swell of green grass in a dress that makes me blush, and there i was blushing. i’m not sure how i made it out alive, skipping the part in the song where you, long gone come busting through a doorway, through the well air conditioned living room and and across the kitchen tile, to the refrigerator where just like in elementary school, my fourth grade heart wrote all your favorite things on flash cards in the blackest magic marker so i could memorize the things that made you happiest. and you turning around in slow motion to see my face, or where my face should be, the only expression i can make anymore, realizing that you realized that i only ever wanted to be something that made you happy. suddenly you’re tired, and i’m tired too, goodnight goodnight, i’m falling asleep because it’s the only thing that doesn’t burn. i’m falling asleep to go back again. everything glitches and i’m underneath your perfect teeth. you say “i would never hurt you” and i say “just like that?” and the layer starts over again, always back to the moment i asked you in my bravest of voices if i could hold your hand. you probably don’t remember that moment, or maybe you do but don’t particularly share the same sentiment over its importance. you see, i’m always fine until the part where i have to say it out loud, and then time stops. i have always wanted to tell you that something happened inside me that night and now i’m not the same me as i was before. so if you ever cross a bridge. if you ever get my voicemail, if you need me, i’ll be sketching up the dramatic parts in my head and they’ll happen just the way i imagined just you wait you wait. the last scene the very last one, the bottom layer, knee deep in mud knee deep in i told you so, you say “i would never hurt you” and instead of saying “just like that” i reach up to kiss you and the room evaporates. so if you want lemonade and bedtime stories, if i can make a believer out of you, if you want bucketfuls of november if you want grace if you want the courage it takes to ask for grace, you’re over the train tracks you’re almost home you’re almost there. what else can you say besides “okay pumpkin okay sweetheart, in my head everything was beautiful" the doorway now filled with people who send you birthday cards saying welcome back welcome home we’ve missed you, hello. hello. the time spent waiting, chorus of rain, i only invited you over so we could make perfect sense. i only gave my hands away because you didn’t want them anymore. and days later a man with a shark tooth necklace asked if i was okay and i lost it i just lost it. all the little red bricks with their little names carved into them, how they don’t feel comfortable under your feet, how there were hundreds of flowers but somehow we took a picture of the same one the very same one, and how we can’t talk about things like that anymore, how i was sitting on a bench and i didn’t hear you call my name, shaking hands on accident with your parents hello sir hello mam, your daughter is my favorite ghost.
my book "down with the ship" is availible for purchase at /
Maia Vasconez Sep 2019
Keep the lights off,
I look too much like my mother today.

Pack the sadness up into boxes and
put it away. No one wants to see that anymore.

All my friends are rays of sunshine and
I have to bite my cheek.

I don't smile,
I bare my teeth.

I keep them all at arms length unless

they can feel their way through the hall
in the dark,

now that every room gets dim
with me inside of it.

In fact,

what if we sleep through this one?

What if I just lie down
and let the birds peck at me?
Maia Vasconez Sep 2019
In the mornings,
I ate like a hummingbird. Handfuls of
white chocolate chips and blueberries.
Saucers of green tea.

You do not know devotion until
you have seen these rituals.
These little rituals
where a young girl wakes up,
strips down,
holds her breath, and
steps on the scale.  

I wanted to hear my skeleton rattle inside me like
a set of keys.

I had a tape measure under my bed,
and a death wish.

There is nothing I know,
nothing more precious than this.
I wanted to be
rough, and
jagged edges.

She’s a fairy, she just
can’t fly because
she doesn’t eat.

Have you seen the disappearing act where
the girl makes herself shrink and no one
notices because
she is already small?

I won’t stop until
I drink air and eat sunshine.

I won’t stop until
they worry (they love me).
Maia Vasconez Sep 2019
The weatherman said it was going to rain but he didn’t mention
when it would let up. It’s been raining for years.

I keep telling myself I’m not allowed to be this downpour,
this unhappy
all the time. It doesn’t help.

I don’t want to be brave today. I don’t
want to do the work today. I don’t want to do the work today. I don’t want
to do the work today. I don't want to.

The only thing worth living for is the sunset. I’m letting things
pile up instead of taking care of them. I want to see
how high I can get.

This is the terrible precipice I’ve been peering over.
Everyone/ no one is worried for me.
If I fall on them,
I will be so heavy. And what is it if it isn’t

everyone you take with you on the way down?
I thought I would fall right into the sunshine. I thought I’d be
covered in it.

Oh my god I can’t die yet,
my room isn’t clean.

Look, I brushed my hair.
I got dressed.

See, I'm better now. See?
Maia Vasconez Mar 2019
For some of us it was Valentine’s,
for some of us it was the first day of lent.

So what are you going to give up?
She was sulking on the couch,
he was doing coke in my living room,
and there were strangers in my home,    
I’d let them in.
I was just sipping lime and gin.
They wrecked my house,
and I let them.

I said, I’m serious
what are you going to give up?
And we went around the circle,
one by one:
I told him to
stop doing coke,
I told her to
stop dating older men.
They both said no,
they tell me to stop being a buzzkill.

The room swelled. We moved downstairs
and she was
dancing on a pole,
and he was talking business
with people I didn’t know.
And I was taking shots of ***** then
I wanted to feel like
a swing set.

I was swaying and
he was holding me upright
and he was
placing his jacket on my shoulders,
I have always been the coldest.

His arms cinched around my waist
and he was like a life vest.
And for a moment
I was above water,
or at least not drowning.

On the counter,
there were wilting roses and
chocolate covered strawberries.
In the mirror the word LOVE
spelled out EVOL.
There was pink on all the walls,
a bowl of candy hearts that said,
I don’t know how to be sweet
I don’t know how to be soft

He was playing with my hands
and tracing circles in my palms
and I was letting him.
I was getting drunk,
and he was begging me to
take another shot, and to
take another shot, and to
take another shot,
to break my will.

He found a way into my bed,
he asked if he could stay
and I don’t know why I let him in.
He was not special and
I was not that drunk anymore.

It was lent and I was
going to give it up,
give it all away,
give in.

It was lent and
I was going to
give up.
  Mar 2019 Maia Vasconez
Tom Leveille
kissing you was like swerving into oncoming traffic

i can never tell if i am more haunted by empty picture frames or the ashes of their contents

you taught me that the saying "pick your battles" meant not answering when love was at the door

sometimes when i drink whiskey i swear i can hear your voice in the creases of my bedsheets & i sleep on the floor

i still catch myself running my hands over things you touched the most, looking for the echoes of your fingertips

i practice things i'll never say to you

i remember the day you told me you didn't like poetry, how "everything's already been said" & how "nothing meaningful can be captured without being cliche" you know, i don't miss you like the sun and moon, i do not miss you like tide bent waves crashing on the shoreline, i miss you like a chernobyl  swingset misses children

rumor has it that drowning is a lot like coming home, that drinking bleach can **** the butterflies in your stomach

for your love of cigarettes, i would have been an ashtray

this halloween i want to dress up as the you when you loved yourself and show up on your doorstep

i never understood what you meant when you said i was an instrument, back when you would cup your hands around my chest and breathe through the holes in my heart, i still wonder if the sounds i made remind you of wind chimes

i never paid much attention to abandoned buildings until i became one

in my dreams all the flowers smell like your perfume

i am the only person who has ever wished for the same snowflake to fall twice

if i could go back, and rewrite the definition of audacity, it would be how when we lost the bet of love, you said "we never shook on it"

i love you, if the feeling is not mutual, please pretend this was a poem

the only apology i want from you, is to have you repeat the names of children we will never have in your parents living room until they *****

we are the same person if you find yourself up at 4am dry heaving promises, or if you are kept awake by the laughter of those who've abandoned you

nobody ever told you that goodbyes taste like the back of stamps

sometimes i'm convinced that the only reason we hug, is so you can check my back for exit wounds
Maia Vasconez Jan 2019
So the weather eventually had to warm.
The first time I wear a t-shirt in his car he is
stealing side eye glances of my bare arms.
He says, I like your bracelets and with his
hands on the wheel nods to the one
slipping down his wrist, which I gave him.
And he must think he is so clever because
What we are really looking at now are the pale,
matching, horizontal lines going up and down our flesh.
           I shake my head, I change the subject.

Later we are holding lighters up
to dandelions and watching them burn.
We are lying in a field of clovers,
He moves closer.
           He points to the damage and asks,
           What happened here?
He asks me like I could tell him a date,
He asks me like it’s history
He asks me like I might say
It was the Summer of 2014
but I can’t name what battle took place.
          I shake my head, I change the subject.

So after you pull another girl into my bedroom, after you pushed
everything off of my bed and onto the floor
to make room for what you’d do with her,
I inspect the damage.
I pull the bracelet that I gave you from the wreckage.
I leave you in the window, I never see you again.
I leave paper cuts on my legs in vain,
I never see you again.
I have scars that take the shape of your dizzy,
lazy fingers tracing my limbs.
I will never see you again.
Poem for closure
Poem for Luke
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