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Jesse Osborne Jun 2016
but he wrote a line in some novel
about love as a hair clip left behind on the dresser.
his lover coming back for it later.

i still think it could've been your bobby pin, there, on my bedside table.
however, now that i'm single,
i much prefer hair ties.
Jun 2016 · 339
Love Poem #7
Jesse Osborne Jun 2016
The girl I love is in Brooklyn
and I don't have the currency to call
the clouds in her eyes
and sew her a sky above
the heads of buildings
           and smoke
cigarettes through telephone wires
           or bodies
of water.

We're both trying to quit,
in our own ways.
Jun 2016 · 316
Love Poem #4
Jesse Osborne Jun 2016
Daffodils think they're sunflowers,
my grandmother thinks her couch is on fire,
I think you're still the same:

eyes faulty traffic lights,
chest an airbag in constant accident,
voice infrequent radio static.
May 2016 · 1.0k
The Fidelity of Bad Timing
Jesse Osborne May 2016
great-grandma Corinne was always doomed
to leave the room just before a big event

she was in the bathroom across
the hallway the day I was born
           she was in the supermarket across
           the street the day her husband died

as is my fate to wish for love
in the moments before i leave

but i’d take a lifetime of clocks
ticking two breaths behind

            to settle inside the cocoon of
            your mouth for a whisper of time
Jesse Osborne May 2016
that tasted like popcorn
and dirt; warm, and then

The grass separates itself into individual blades
that glitter          and    dance
                                              under the sky
like a million knives

Friend, I want to grow roots with you.
                                                                ­  I want to make a home in you.

I am as raw as a newborn.
All that my body can handle
is the sweet juice of a peach

I never knew the sky could open as it has,
                                                       could fill me with cloud,
                             and the dust of what the first atoms
have left behind for us.

My body is a torch
to light       with the world of your palms.
Use dandelions
                          as matches.

I am stripped of all pretense, bones
free of caveat and nicety.
Now, it is time to live as an
earthworm does. Softly, naked:
on the cheek of the
Apr 2016 · 284
Nocturne for Spring
Jesse Osborne Apr 2016
My friends’ voices hum softly
outside the open window,
like night-bees over sleeping dandelions
lulling me into dream.
Apr 2016 · 270
Morning Prelude
Jesse Osborne Apr 2016
The birds outside start their days early
hunting for worms
in the still-sleeping grass.

The fish in the bowl above my bed
parts the water, calling for Moses,
or breakfast. Whichever comes first.

For him, two freeze dried bloodworms.
For me, an old banana and a cup of cold coffee.
The two of us were bred for civility.
Jesse Osborne Apr 2016
A time zone separation of 3 hours, in reality,
is nearly impossible.
When the soft sun is lifting your eyes in morning, I’ve already been up.
When I’m sleeping,
you’re still perched brightly on the cheek of the night sky,
etching love letters into its velvet.

I wish there was a way to yank back the clock’s hands,
peel at the skin of its fingertips
so we could live in a single minute
counting the music of seconds,
like blood
rushing through our entwined arteries.

There was a time when we sat
on a dusky mountain face
and watched the moon rise.
You told me to find the comfort in
the fact that it’s always the same moon
no matter the distance.
Last night, the sky was too dark to tell.

Maybe there will come a day
when you’re not in L.A.
and I’m sick of New York
and we reconvene in Paris,
or Tokyo,
or maybe, a small meadow,
as the grass dances red
in the sun’s final hours,
where time
is antiquated
and we measure the passing of days
with the songs of sparrows.

Until then,
we’ll send our love through telephone wires
and call it
if it takes me 2 weeks to get back to you.
Apr 2016 · 313
The Origins of Flight
Jesse Osborne Apr 2016
I love Brooklyn in the morning
because you’re always in the kitchen,
while your mother sleeps
and we drink coffee
to the hum of garbage trucks
and city birds
as the sun creeps its way into spring.

If we were birds,
you might an egret.
Maybe I’d be a finch.
Mockingbirds for mothers.
Bluejay fathers.

Let’s fly to the mountains
where the air allows us to think,
and take peyote on a dusky moonrise.
Cry with the sinking stars.

For now, we must satisfy ourselves
with telephone wires and call it even.
Cousins, but these days
and in the morning,
coffee drinkers.

The other day
when you were walking down the street
I thought you might be growing wings.
I keep pulling hairs from my chin
and wishing they were feathers.
But maybe, that's just another form
of preening.
Apr 2016 · 508
Quantum Mechanics
Jesse Osborne Apr 2016
As a little girl,
I used to think my backyard
was the Garden of Eden.
When I turned 14
I had *** with a boy for the first time
behind the peonies bushes
because they were my mother’s favorite.
She didn’t notice.
Neither did the sky.

Hannah told me that when she has *** with her boyfriend,
she wants to live inside him.
I’ve always wondered what it would be like
to inhabit someone else’s body.
Less as rib, but more
as flesh, or breath.

Nobody ever asked Eve
if she liked ***.
Maybe she was just using Adam for his *****.
I’ve been trying to convince myself
that ******* boys with my shirt on is feminist.

A boy named Adam once fell in love with me
but I never let him touch me after he came.
I still feel this way most days, but
sometimes I wish the inside of my skin
knew what it felt like
to be held.
Mar 2016 · 800
On the Road (Sort of)
Jesse Osborne Mar 2016
I ask Trevor why he carries around his passport
from when he was 14
as his only form of government I.D.
It's for cigarettes
he says with a shrug,
and takes a drag from the passenger seat
of my car.
He reminds me of someone
who shouldn't be in this era, a misplaced Kerouac,
and at any moment
would hop a freight train
or subway car
to pass through someone else's life
in the time it takes to turn breath
into carbon.
Trevor, I say,
you know you can't get out of the country with that. It's expired.
I know,
he smirks.
I just like the illusion that
I'm going somewhere.
There's a sad sweetness in the way
he keeps his heart
in a list of area codes;
that home is synonymous
with an expired ability to leave
the way a seagull takes to ocean breeze.
I don't know what he'd do if he actually had the chance.

Trevor's passport
is nearly filled with other worlds
he prefers,
and other lives he's lived,
in only a leather jacket
and a pair of scuffed up Adidas.
I keep wondering
about the day he'll turn us
into stamps to include in the rest of his collection,
squeezed into one of the few blank spaces left
in a crowded itinerary,
and then
he'll renew his passport.
Jesse Osborne Mar 2016
Sent: Wednesday, Mar. 23rd, 2016. 8:35 a.m.*

I thought of you for the first time today in
3 years, and I think
you know why.
That song about the River
that always brings me back to
your palms.
Winter's cracked mine to ruin,
ancient in its destruction, but
in some ways
I can see my veins
without consequence.
I've always been fascinated with

Vermont is too far from Chicago.
But probably a little closer to you,
somewhere off in the cheek of a mountain,
or the lips of a brook trout.
I've haven't eaten fish since you died;
the day after your funeral,
I bought a book on

You are more migration
than memory.
I used to say I saw Mississippi in your eyes.
Nose as delta.
Mouth made of sea.
I hope you're still swimming,
with broad shoulders as fins,
and hands probing the riverbed, softly,
searching for fossils.
Jesse Osborne Mar 2016
It was impossible to differentiate
between the slices of limes
scattered on the floor
and the rings of your eyes,
or maybe the morning moon;
object permanence
is a lie.

All I’ve been thinking about
are your lips whispering
into a half-empty bottle.
Seashell eyes.
Windy smile.
**** the Beatles
but I think you’re more Ocean
than Human.
Let’s go for a swim sometime.

It’s starting to get warmer,
and I’d love to drink gin & tonics with you
on some shoreline.
Or dorm room.
But first
I need to buy more limes.
Jesse Osborne Mar 2016
by Jesse Osborne*

To feel something into entirety
is to die 1000 continuous deaths
and hope one of them
is a birth.
You’re a reincarnation of time
and rugged lip.
I’m a sphinx,
or a gladiator.
Whichever came first.
******* is not your answer.  
Nor did you discover it.
Don’t **** him for the fun of it.
Appreciate the way water runs
down your bare skin in the early morning hours
when only the street vendors
are awake.
Breathe their souls as your own.
Choose touch
before word.
Use flesh as a surrogate.
Climb up into your heart
and experience what it means to
be inside your body again.
To come down
simply means
to awaken.
Mar 2016 · 256
Flowers, i.e. Erotica
Jesse Osborne Mar 2016
When you laid down on my bed,
you asked if you should take your shoes off.
I said no,
though what I really meant was
right now my blood is chlorophyll and
your skin is an orchid petal
and if you so much as untie a shoelace,
there’s a good chance I’ll photosynthesize.

Daffodil. Sun Ray.
There was a night last fall
where we sat on the floor of your room
and got dizzy from $10 gin, or
the mitosis of easily bruised lips.
Our bodies as stems, pressed together.
It’s spring now and
I tried writing you a poem about condensation but
I’m still figuring out how to conserve water.
There are days when my skin is more desert
than tropic.
Part of me wants your hands on my body
like you’re learning what it means to grow something
into full bloom.
Another part of me
is waiting for the rains.
Mar 2016 · 375
Pilot Jones
Jesse Osborne Mar 2016
For All My Death Girls*

Kennedy’s in the second stall
with a razor she stole from the art room
So I lie on the floor to listen for the janitor,
the cart’s loose wheels squeaking our names
down the evening empty hallway.
The weeks she was in northwestern medical,
I didn’t go to visit.
Though I know from her memories
what the doors looked like,
How they tied her to the bed
for her own protection.
We’re 13 and I adore her despair.
I think she’s edgeless like the moon,
carving herself a body that’s nothing but light.
On the train home, she picks the window seat.
Tells me there’s a trick to disintegrating in increments
subtle enough not to trip the alarm wires.
To hiding cigarettes and death
from therapists and parents.
And this—
all my girls have had down.
How to go
and go until the night is too fragile or grimy
and then the fanfare,
the wild dive from the spire.
The water tower, the clock yanking its hands back,
how to dangle from the spotlight once everyone is watching.

We lie on Maya’s twin bed built for one
deciding whether or not
she should start cheeking her meds,
her mother flicking through a magazine just one floor below,
as our bodies curl themselves into still commas of want
to wait for morning.
They take her cell phone
and her cigarettes
and I watch.
They give her pills
and more pills
and lock her in a room
with a single bed
and no mirror to smash
and I ride the long drive from the window
back to Chicago.

Tatsumi is an expert in suicide
and poetry.
Her medicine cabinet rattles like a jar of vengeful bees,
she wants me to find her.
Our scars are entwined like a congregation
just waiting to be graced.
Her hair falls like a cabaret
all the way to her waist.
And how she needs me—
the rose of my cheeks becomes wine in her mouth,
I am an obliteration who will get up in the morning to call the hospital
and make coffee.

Oh, my pretty ones.  
In love with the beast of disappearing.
There are many ways to give birth.
Not one is without pain.
There are almost as many ways to die
as there are to love.
Tonight, I drink to you who chose to keep going,
who move through my body like a chemical I could not keep.
The night crouches at the back door
with a rusty chain and a loaded shotgun,
the scent of lilies rising from the half-moons of its teeth,
go ahead,
tuck your babies into bed
and lovers’ hair behind their soft ears
as if there is nothing—
left to fear.
Mar 2016 · 4.4k
Describing the Color Blue
Jesse Osborne Mar 2016
The skies were clear the day after he died.

I peeled off my clothes by the river
and watched the water breathe,
folding into itself like a chest wound.
It trembled at my touch,
as foot became current,
kissed thigh and naked breast,
warm cheek and curled lip.
The water was soft
and the world sighed beneath me.
My skin was built of goosebump
I floated on my back and my body became the water cycle.

Evaporation is just another word
for rebirth.
Jesse Osborne Jan 2016
(After the poem by Shinji Moon)

Lucy’s smoking spliffs out the window
and I keep thinking about how I’ll probably
always love you
a little bit.
We haven’t spoken in months,
but tonight New York is sleeping under 24 inches of snow,
and the last time I was in a blizzard
I was 16,
and in Chicago,
and the softness of it made me think of you.
Everyday I pass by this flower shop in Brooklyn
and I steal a tulip to pluck
like I’m forgetting you in petals.
Photosynthesis is another word for heartbreak.
The truth is I think of you often.
Sometimes I make eye contact with strangers
and wish they’d look at me the way you used to,
or say my name like they were tasting a truffle,
like the Italian word Rimembrare,
or a drag of a cigarette.
I’m trying to stop smoking.
I wanted to tell you
that I’m not afraid of the wind anymore,
and in the past 2 years
I’ve drifted through so many places but keep finding synonyms for you
in every map
or language guide.
And I guess only you know why that would hurt.
I remember almost nothing about you already
except that you loved the story
about the seagull who taught himself to fly,
and the way you laughed,
like you were imitating
Jan 2016 · 377
Part 3
Jesse Osborne Jan 2016
   I feel u in my side, girl.

   These days u think u Adam.

   U come from my rib.

   And U
   from the garden blooming in my abdomen.

   I’d stomp your hydrangeas.

   I’d refuse your loneliness.

   We live to destroy each other

   The temperature in Paradise never changes.

   My nails dug into the back of your neck.

   My knuckles scrawling in the hollows of your cheeks.

   Thy kingdom come

   I’d step out of this skin for u

   Thy Will Be Done

   To see my bones is to know me.

   On Earth as it is in Heaven.

   I love you in a way

   I need to love myself.
Jesse Osborne Jan 2016
Every morning
I wake up in a city
that feels a little more familiar
each time my eyelids bloom daffodils
on a fire escape horizon.
Maybe I’m in love with a Newness
that begins to feel like Home.
Maybe I dream dumpsters
in Flatbush
or shoot Harlem
into my forearms.
Use telephone wires as tourniquets.
Maybe this girl I’ve been seeing has traces
of Paradise in her bloodstream.

                                           And then I have to remember this city is home to
                                           Pizza Rat, and bedbugs in the metro benches,
                                           and **** Holly Golightly,
                                           she never had to take the F train.

But maybe
she and I can share some unspoken reality,
and I’ll walk down 5th Ave. one day
holding my lover’s hand
as the sun turns sidewalks silver
and we’ll decide to grab a
Jan 2016 · 467
Chicago (B seeing U)
Jesse Osborne Jan 2016
I love being gone from a place
long enough to remember it in pieces.
The words of some old song
piecing themselves together
in the back of my throat,

                 Like rust on the underbelly of my car.
Or warm-walled cafés
where I tasted the lips of lovers.
                 The way winter tears
                 my Mother's skin apart,
and how potholes
remind me of
                 her hands.

Last January I embraced a delirious woman
whose daughter had jumped from a 10 story building.
The whole time she talked about the aching
of children's bones
and how she wished someone would fill in
the cracks on the sidewalks.

I used to say this city gave me growing pains.
I wonder if New York will make me feel smaller.
Dec 2015 · 307
Part 2.
Jesse Osborne Dec 2015
Sunday Confessional, as I sit in front of 'Earthly Paradise' at the Art Institute*

The people in the painting must be hot.
It's 70 degrees in December
and I wore a coat to a museum
and I can still feel the coke in my nose from last night.
I love this painting because it suffocates me.
And maybe these characters suffocate themselves,
under thick purple trees and overripe skies.
Last night
we wanted to destroy each other.
Called it Paradise
or Garden of Eden.
Peeled back our flesh
to see our insides.
The warm air was thick
as I walked her to her door,
sticking to us like an extra skin.
Asking to be shed,
I need to take off this coat.
It's too warm for December.
Dec 2015 · 488
Part 1.
Jesse Osborne Dec 2015
Born Again in the bathroom of a ***** hookah bar*

This morning I stood in the shower
with the taste of last night in the back of my throat
when I did blow off a bathroom sink
in a West Harlem hookah bar
with a girl I used to think I was in love with
who split lines with a razor she carried in her purse.
She giggled as she nicked her finger
and drew a cross on my forehead,
though neither of us were religious.
I thought that I would've offered her my body as a canvas
and let her baptize me with only humming fluorescent lights
to bear witness.

We did lines with an old walgreens receipt
because we didn't have a dollar.
We liked the sound our bones made when
we crushed our bodies against the grimy tiled walls.
We chewed each other's lips to a pulp
and mistook them for cherries in late August.
We clawed our skins raw
and sang of Eve, or Adam's Rib Cage.

That night I drove home with open windows
as the warm December mist settled on my face.
I said 10 Hail Mary's
and picked my nail beds until they bled.
Dec 2015 · 541
Jesse Osborne Dec 2015
French language has no direct translation for "I miss you." Instead, it is "tu me manques" which literally means "you are missing from me."

as in Removed,
as in Absent.
As in ribcage
with one bar gone.
As in bathtub for one.
As is poetic justice,
or returning home
to a broken toaster
and a goldfish with its belly to the sun.

As in waking up in Brooklyn
to find you already in Manhattan.

Each night
I drop my bed a little lower on its frame.
The mattress a little closer to the floor.

Makes mourning
feel less like falling.
And falling,
more like reassembling.
Jesse Osborne Nov 2015
Dear Ian
The First always tastes like honeyed-sunlight on cheek and windowpane:
first kiss, first cigarette, first rooftop.
I never wanted to come down.

Dear Greyson
Beautiful and empty.
Our hands didn't fit right.

Dear Anton
Thank you for kissing prayers into the crosses on my forearms.
It wasn't enough.
I'm sorry I kept you on your knees.

Dear Eli

Dear Wyatt
We were high and you were there.
Your mouth tasted like sour milk
and I was lonely in the morning.

Dear Ian
Snorting coke off my naked body was all you needed.
I think I caught you too late.

Dear Cody
Thanks for the ****.
I'm sorry I made you leave--
I couldn't stop looking at the orchid petals falling on my windowsill.

Dear Howard
I never realized my power
until the day I let you finger me in the seasonal section of a CVS.

Dear Sky
Loving you was like loving river currents.
I lost myself in the way you looked at me like
you were looking past me.
I'm still learning how to let go of dead things.

Dear Jessica
I was high on painkillers for the 6 months you tried
to bring me back down.
But if you had a condo on a cloud
I'd have stayed at your place.

Dear Robert
I just needed a prom date.
Don't read into it.

Dear Sarah
You and spring rains are synonymous.

Dear Vanessa
Someday I'll come back.
We'll paint piazzas into dusk.

Dear Maya
Your lips were swollen honeysuckle and I was all hummingbird.
I wish you could've held me after.

Dear Alyson
We never met in person,
but the way you glittered behind my phone screen
fogged up the glass with light-hot possibility.
Our timing wasn't right.

Dear Amélie
"On n'aime que ce qu'on ne possède pas tout entier."

Dear Izzy
I would've sewn stars down your backbone.
That night at the End of the World, we held eternity in our fingertips.
or maybe it was just the *****.

Dear Brendan
Drunken lapse in judgement.
I'm not "experimenting", I'm actually gay.

Dear Sara
I wish I was looking for something casual.
The Washington Sq. Park fountain will always be holy.
Bless my forehead whenever.


Dear Jesse*
It's time to fall in love with your palms.
They fit together perfectly.
Plant chrysanthemums in your abdomen
and let yourself bloom again.
Like it's the first time.
Like you owe it to yourself.
Nov 2015 · 1.6k
The Ganga
Jesse Osborne Nov 2015
We walked along the left bank of the holiest river in the world
as the sun kissed the hazy emerald sky into morning,
and I watched as an old man padded barefoot to the water's edge,
dawn in his collarbone,
bending with brittle bones to say prayers for the new day.

At first glance,
the river is thick and murky,
garbage entwined in its current like rings on crooked fingers
and I listened to the winces of the rest of my group members--
no Americans with Western Sensibilities would find divinity
in its sewage runoff and fish corpses.

But Holy is subjective.
Found not only in church pews and rosaries.

Hindu religion is composed of 3 cycles representing the stages of life:
Brahma is the creator,
Vishnu the protect,
and Shiva the destroyer,
without one stage there cannot be another
with creation comes the inevitability of destruction
and we walked through that early morning mist
past the cremation fires kept lit for centuries
because to have your body turned to dust on these banks
is to achieve eternal salvation,
to die and then be reborn into light
with the presence of death comes the beginnings of life
don't tell me there isn't divinity in this.

As the sun grew bigger, I waltzed.

Past the women doing washing in the river
saris glimmering on the surface of the water
like schools of colorful fish and
Indian children doing cannonballs into the embrace of the current,
grinning because they knew something we didn't,
but still, I waltzed.
Past the gossiping birds
and the giggling vendors
and the fishing boats and river men
and the homeless woman shouting at the top of her lungs
Namaste to the world!
And the countless believers greeting each other like
Namaste, my brother.
I love you.
The Light in Me honors the Light in You.

People make pilgrimages to this sacred place from hundreds of miles away,
buckets strapped to their shoulders just to bring back a bit of this holy water to bless their homes,
and dancing the whole way.

As the Indian sun rose midday into the sky,
and it was time for us to leave,
I watched as children and men and women and families
lit tiny candles balanced on flower petals
and sent them down the river as offerings of light
to Vishnu, the protector, preserver of life.
We know it as the Ganges River,
but its people affectionately call it the Ganga
and I didn't know Hindu
but I could've sworn Ganga meant Home.
Meant life.
Meant cycle, or current.

As I turned to leave,
back up the steps and onto the crowded Varanasi streets,
I took one last look back over my shoulder
as thousands of tiny candles flickered and floated
on the soft, unwavering current,
illuminating that holy river into eternity,
and I thought,
*what a fall.
but what light.
what impossible light.
Jesse Osborne Nov 2015
1.* Put headphones in like veins surrendering to needle,
scroll thru library
for sad british 70s punk-
preferably Joy Division or The Clash
so you can set your insides on fire.

2. Walk with rivers in your step
like your feet have always known where to go
like your steel-toed boots are fishing boats
in a tsunami.

3. Switch song,
speed up.

4. Dodge clusters of sophomores turned disease
which threatens your bloodstream,
ignore side-looks and eye contact
which is just a step away from a conversation you're not looking to have,
remember not to catch your ex-girlfriend's eye
like she's the light
and you're all moth
and desperation
and the last time you looked in her direction,
you didn't get out of bed for 3 days.

5. Keep walking.
Even if it feels like its the only thing you can do these days.
Remember that you're still breathing.

6. For bonus points,
clutch some pretentious reading material like
Infinite Jest, or anything James Joyce,
and if freshman get in the way,
it's ok to push them.

7. Glare at the boys who stare at your ***
like you're trying to set them on fire,
and bless broken hallway hearts
with the dust of their bones
like it's Ash Wednesday and everything's burning.

8. But always keep a straight face.
Lean on apathy like you're drowning
and it's the only piece of driftwood for 50 miles and
you've had hurricanes in your eyes since September 9th.

9. Don't let them see the burn holes in your spine
from endless cigarette prayers on starless nights
or the way you think about love
and riverbanks
and exodus.

10. Look straight ahead
like you're numb,
even though you've got hydrangeas blooming in your ribcage.

Reveal nothing.
So they fear you.
So you fear you.
Class has begun.
Nov 2015 · 285
Jesse Osborne Nov 2015
i remember that day in that little park when your were wearing your blue dress with the flowers and i looked at you as the sun danced golden across your eyelids and thought i am so In Love with this girl we were intoxicated with the promise of spring and stardust and flowerbeds already making plans for what we'd do on our 6 month anniversary that day we kissed until our lips were swollen bruised purple like blackberries in late august and i liked how days after whenever i touched my lips i knew you'd been there
Jesse Osborne Nov 2015
Today I woke up
and you were still in my bed.
Blue walls against purple hair
trying to force themselves
into being complimentary.
I don't understand how
"non-monogamy" works
but I've always hated contradictions
and the way I buy flowers just to watch them die.
I should've learned by now
that people fly away
and birds leave in the morning
and I can't keep losing myself
in the palms of another person
like I'm praying for a baptism
or a cup of coffee.


Sunday mornings should exist in the thesaurus
under chiaroscuro
or broken glass
or the shedding of the uterine lining, see:
"letting go of dead things".
When you left, you took your purple with you.
Brooklyn got off her knees and got on with the day.
I laid in bed and watched the pigeons on my windowsill
mistaking the blue walls for sky.
Jul 2015 · 539
It's Not You, It's Me
Jesse Osborne Jul 2015
There's something comforting
about returning home
after nights that leave me strung out
and unsure of everything in my life
except the path up the red tile steps
to the front door that creaks when it opens
like an old lover welcoming me home,
with arms of wind-whipped windowpanes
and teeth crumbling like bricks
that were once so strong.

Home is just the three of us now.
My mother, my sister, and me,
but someone once told me that
the strongest foundations are built
in triangles.
Here, all traces of men
have dissipated like smoke through the floorboards,
but if you look closely,
you can still see their footprints that have long since turned to dust,
insignificant and everywhere.
Smell dad's scent of cigarettes
and old books
that still lingers in the back room no matter
how many times mom tries to get rid of it
with sage wrapped fingertips.
We are not girls anymore.
We are women.
We are women, turned warriors
and this house is a battlefield,
a reminder of what remains when the men leave us
sometimes, I here the pipes moan with
the ancient song of being left,
but still carrying on
and there are nights
when our cycles sync up.
Both bodies
and windowpanes
waxing and waning in a dance
as intricate as the phases of the moon,
because everyone I love knows
how to bleed with me.
How to shed
a dying thing from the inside out,
how to make blood a synonym
for baptism,
how to bleed ourselves into a new moon.
And this house is still warm
even though the furnace has been broken
since last winter,
and no one's bothered to fix it,
and the water heater is almost as old as the cat
who's on his last legs too--
it's no coincidence that the only males left in this house are the animals.

I'm leaving for college next year.
And mom's still waiting for her big break
as an actress
and the child support check that's always late
and the furnace still doesn't work.
4 months ago,
a girl with eyes like ocean tides told me
she couldn't love me anymore
and left me standing in the rain.
4 years ago,
a wandering man said he would leave his wife
for my mother
but she's still waiting.
4 days ago,
I heard the pipes whisper to me that we know heartbreak
like nights spent alone,
like a coffee for one,
like a ticking in our veins that says
Keep Living Anyway.

Some would say this house
is falling apart,
beaten down and bruised
like a lover at the end of the line,
but every night she creaks symphonies
and whispers purple midnight stories
with a swollen lip,
and heart still beating like babyfeet on wooden floors.
And she bleeds divinity
through the cracks in the walls
and my mother bleeds strength through the cracks in her palms.

Next year, I'll be gone.
And I wonder
how it will be as I sit
cross legged and lonlier than ever
in a warm dorm room,
with walls that don't have a heartbeat.
And a furnace
that isn't broken.
Jesse Osborne Jul 2015
There's a painting by Botticelli
I've always loved,
showing Venus being born naked
from the ocean and
not fearing the current.
Those around her renounce her body,
scrambling to clothe her,
turn her virginal,
contain the way her eyes cross galaxies,
shine all the way to Pluto.
But she is soft, unwavering,
not noticing the mortals' concern
about her *******
and bare collarbone that could catch water
at its base.

I found you halfway across the world on the steps of the Uffizi
and in the 3 hours it took you
to show me some of the best art on earth,
I was transfixed only
on the orbits of planets in your eyes.
Shortly before the sun set,
you took me through the secret corridor
Cosimo de' Medici built to walk across the
rooftops of the city
where you kissed me but
told me you didn't believe in love,
that all you needed was art,
and Michelangelo,
and in that moment
I saw Venus in your collarbone.
Saw a shell under your feet,
saw the universe in the way your freckles connected,
saw how you immortalize yourself
among the rest of the art in Florence
so no human can bring you down to earth,
can make your heart stop,
show you what it's like to cross timezones
with a single touch.
And here I am,
wanting to be your Botticelli,
to paint the uneven ***** of your shoulders,
the crookedness of your right ankle,
your fear of exposing yourself to someone
who could love you.
It must be lonely out there, Venus,
on your little fishing boat by the sea.

Botticelli's painting was found
long after his death,
laid into the floor of
an abandoned villa in the south of Tuscany.
Venus looking lost and mortal
between cracked paint and chipping walls,
like the way you hide between
the dusty statues of the dead statesmen and fading portraits
long after the museum closes,
just you with only history to hold.
You want to believe in love
as past-tense,
like you've lost faith in present participles and the fact
that art is still being made,
and people are running barefoot into future conjugations

Don't come back to land, Venus. Vanessa.
I won't be here waiting with a towel
or an art critic
or a spaceship.
But maybe,
just make a little room for me on your shell
under the sun,
atop steady waves or Florentine rooftops.
Throw the map overboard.
Let's forget the shore.

And Michelangelo and the rest of them
will smile as they see us off.

— The End —