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monique ezeh Jun 2023
days crawl by
and humidity stills the air.
the black flies are late this season,
though around here, most things are.
below the gnat line, girls like me
seldom get to die easily,
perfumed powders
masking the scent of illness,
flushed cheeks and damp foreheads donned
as our feeble bodies recline on fainting couches
to delicately languish away. we know that
there’s a certain beauty to decomposition,
to fungus gnats invading potted soil,
to fruit flies nesting in sink drains. we know that
rotting is a clock that never stops,
tallying each unflinching, humid second while the
days crawl by.
monique ezeh Nov 2022
Twin glasses of orange juice, froth quietly fizzling out
A plate of turkey bacon piled overzealously high

I would cook you French toast every day, if you'd let me.

Fresh croissants from a bakery down the street
Halved strawberries drizzled with honey

I'll sprinkle cinnamon in our coffee, just like my grandmother used to.

I don't know much of love, but I know this:
When the sun breaks through my kitchen window,
I hope you'll be sitting at the table.
monique ezeh Nov 2022
i am a woman with pain built in.

lighting a candle each night & kneeling before Someone &
waiting &
waiting &

removing a bloodied bandage & assessing the damage &
cleaning the wound &
cleaning the wound &
cleaning the wound.

washing down lamictal with stale chai tea &
lacing up my shoes &
lacing up my shoes &
lacing up my shoes.

warming unseasoned lentil soup & crying into the bowl––

i am a woman with pain built in,
ripping myself apart &
stitching the remnants back together
again &
again &
monique ezeh Sep 2021
creation like an all-consuming fire
splintering sense of self until a chest fills with bone shards

aspirating ***** / spitting up blood
if only for the sake of the


sounds like suffering / smells like delusion
feels like an unexpected weight

and yet it is better than the silence
the silence before / the silence after

                                                          ­                                             is this love?
                                                           ­                                            is this love?
                                                           ­                                            is this love?

                                                          ­             is this it?
                                                             ­          is this it?
                                                             ­          is this it?
monique ezeh Aug 2021
spilled butane from a refilled lighter
heat lightning in the humid air
cigarette butts in a ***** cupholder

— not sure if this is still your number. part of me hopes it isn’t.

hand-me-down jeans that don’t fit anymore
bleach fume-induced headaches
burnt plastic setting off the fire alarm

— i’m leaving soon. i won’t promise i’ll be back.

overgrown grass from 8 days of rain
singed skin over a candle’s flame
rotting meat at the bottom a trash can

— death doesn’t discriminate. i know that now.

monique ezeh Jul 2021
You used to say my eyes were beautiful right before
splitting me open, groin to gullet.

(Do you still think I’m pretty, baby? Don’t you wanna tell me how
sober I look? Don’t you miss my mouth?)

Eyes wide shut, I watched April disappear in a
blur of bite-sized catatonia.

(Tell me how good I feel. Don’t you miss my blood
on your sheets? Pin my arms back, baby, just for old time’s sake.)

The last time I saw you, you avoided my gaze.
I was lucid for that much.

(Oh, I know you can’t help yourself, baby.)

Tell me again how beautiful my eyes are, love.
We both know how much I like it rough.
april showers or whatever they say
monique ezeh Dec 2020
There is a tree behind my neighbor’s house that I can see from my yard.
The leaves are amber from autumn into early winter.
When it’s windy, they fly off in a flurry, the tree’s narrow trunk bowing under Mother Nature’s weight.

Weaker trees around it fall. The tree in question does not.

I watch in awe, every year, as the leaves yellow and brown and eventually fall from the tree’s boughs.
It’s a pity, sure, but I am content that for a few months, I get to watch them grow and evolve.

Today, the leaves’ golden hue peeks at me through a kitchen window.

The branches are leaning over, war-torn by days of storms, reaching toward the earth.
The distance between the leaves and the ground is ever-shrinking, a point approaching zero but never quite reaching it.

In a few months, the tree will be barren. Its fallen leaves will decompose.

They will never meet the new generations of leaves that come each spring.
They will never bear witness to the metamorphosis of their former home, to the growth and change it will undergo in the years to come.
They will never see their stronghold eventually splinter and collapse under the weight of Mother Nature’s force and fury,
becoming one with the earth toward which it was so desperately reaching.

I wonder what it's like to be the one left behind by change.

I’ve always believed it a privilege to be allowed close enough to witness another’s development,
To be along for the journey as they shift from one version of themself to the next.
But this, I realize, is a privilege that I cannot even afford myself.

There are pieces of me that will never see the changes next fall will bring my neighbor’s tree.
There are pieces of my neighbor’s tree that will never see the changes next fall will bring me.
Parts of me will die before other parts are born; it is a fact that simultaneously troubles and comforts me.

Perhaps you, Reader, will never meet the newest versions of me.
But then again, neither will I.
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