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Sophie Herzing Dec 2014
Be the barcode on my bra strap so maybe
I can finally be sellable skinny. Be my relationship goal,
the text to check outside my door, the 5k, 140 character post
about a teenage dream ****** through low brightness screens.
Be the slam poet screaming whiny, new written love songs
on the shareable Facebook post. And maybe I’m just as bad,
but at least I recognize when my eyes fall numb from staring
at self-expression turned self-obsession. Maybe it’s Jack talking back
through my shot glass or maybe it’s the blacklight absorbed
into my skin. Or maybe it’s a girl in a “vintage” dress just sizing out
bigger than the edges already cut out for her. Maybe it’s me
bending backwards over chivalry and **** coming back from the 90’s.
Don’t blame me for biting into the media sandwich that is magazines
and the indecision of being too clingy if I just freakin’ called you.
Cause picking up the phone is a lot more risky than the kissy-face emoji
at the end of a message. Don’t blame me for consuming
tissue paper lies designed to target my own vulnerability, or my lack
of understanding the truth because all everyone
has ever told me is just a step in the manipulation blueprint
to get what they want, or just get me to bed. I only trust old photographs,
things I wrote down when I couldn’t sleep, my mom, and the dirt
I used to bury my own reflection. Be the 50% off on my receipt
just so I know I got something off. Be the nicotine in my cigarette,
the Blink 182 voice inside my head, the joints that hold me up
where I stand, and maybe I’ll finally know who I am.
Sophie Herzing Oct 2014
The neon sign's piping glows cool amber
through the glass's core like an unholy
halo, drowning in the now half-empty
bottle of Miller. The liquid calls me
home, sliding down my throat, tickling my tongue.
As I see her slight figure framed by light—
dipping at the waist, my fingers begin
to trace the curves, her body full, alive.
"Picture" by Kid Rock comes on the jukebox,
while the guys knock down a last round of pool.
She sweats through a humid night in Fort Knox.
Drops sit on her neck like pretty faux pearls—

I cradle the bottle like a blue sin.
Taking another sip, I drink her in.
Sophie Herzing Oct 2015
I’m mad at you for keeping the book open
and not telling me what chapter we’re on,
what pages you skipped, what summary
you tried to read but got bored with.
I’m mad at you for telling me you would stop in
and you didn’t. I’m mad at you for keeping me
in sheets all alone waiting for a phone call,
pretending that I wanted to just stay in and paint
pictures that I’ll tear up anyway, or that I really
really wanted to do laundry on a Saturday night.
I’m mad at you. I’m mad at you and why

is that so hard to tell you? The words reside
in my chest—they are rehearsed. I’ve whispered
them a thousand times to myself in the shower,
about how I’m frustrated and worn down
and confused as to what happened, how I could let
something I swore I memorized slip through my fingers.
Then you show up, clean shaven, perfect curves
from your hips down to your knees, and I lose it.
I swallow all my syllables and drown myself
in a kiss I’ve begged for. I can’t tell you

because I’m scared that one wrong phrase
and I’m out the door, just a girl you used to run away with.
I’m scared that I’m losing something, that I’ll wind up lost
if I disconnect myself from something I’ve envisioned
over and over again in my future. So I don’t say

anything. I just wait until the last possible second, minutes
before midnight, and I cry myself into a bear you gave me,
trying to figure out where I went wrong, what happened,
what page did I miss?
Sophie Herzing Jan 2012
There I am in this white room
my hands over my ears
elbows straight out
my eyes are shut so tight it hurts
and I'm screaming at you,
spitting fire in between my teeth
a book whizzes past my head
I hear a chair collapse
it's you throwing things again
loosening your tie
cuffs unbuttoned
that one piece of hair in your eyes
All we ever do is fight anymore
yell at each other about stupid things
like why I didn't introduce myself properly
why you forgot to do the dishes
but those stupid things
start to grow into big things
like why it is you never call anymore
on that sin black telephone
why does it never ring!
Why I'm such a ***** about people coming over
how I can't understand how to let things go
all we do is fight
all through the night
until my hairs a mess and your skins hot
until the liquor wears off and our close-knit screaming
has turned into us sitting in separate rooms
boring holes in the walls and biting our nails
until the pain sets in
Neither one of us wants to make the first move
to reconcile, to give in
of course it's never you
it's always me
the one apologizing
it's always me
kissing your neck until you'll forgive
You'll say it's alright,
pat my hand
get dressed and leave again
while I jump in the shower
turn it as hot as it can go
as I watch the dirt slide off my skin
the slime from last night's meltdown
because I know it'll happen once more
I know I shouldn't be sorry
I know you don't really forgive
I'm so sick of being lonely
I'm so tired of being without
So I'll just stay in this white room
and scream until my lungs give out.
Sophie Herzing Jan 2014
Sometimes I would go out to my grandma's
and bring her lunch.
She didn't like cooking for just one.
We'd eat hoagies from Vito's market,
bag of Lay's chips between the two of us,
and sweet tea she had in her fridge
using only the plastic cups
because we couldn't have glass around the pool.

She'd point to necklaces and cashmere sweaters
from the new JCrew catalog,
dog earring all the pages she loved
her tan hands steady on the corners
with several silver rings on her fingers,
big diamond on the left one.

I hated to leave her with only the sound
of the Pennsylvania state flag flapping
against the pole,
or her neighbor's lawn being mowed.
But she smiled something huge when I waved goodbye
from the sidewalk
slowly closing the catalog,
a sympathy wind chime scoring her steps,
walking back inside
to no one sitting in the arm chair
and the TV on mute.
Sophie Herzing Aug 2014
A lot can happen in for years.
I said, but you begged
You don’t think you’ll come back?
Not even for me?
Not even for you. Not even for you,
but you see this is just a ghost town
haunted by the very memory
of your wild existence,
calling a teenager after curfew to your street name,
a few skipped breaths in bed,
kid skin and little bellies
trapped by wide-spread fingers and an innocent
lust. *A lot can happen in four years.

Twenty two sounds a lot older when you’re eighteen
and beautiful, but really
we’re all just chasing cars, multiplying the distance,
confusing the circumstances and rebelling
against the plan. This place isn't how you left it.
I’m not the glass-eyed girl in your driveway
telling you I’d never change if you would just stay
within my reach. I know I missed a few calls.
I know you did, too.
But honestly, what more could we expect
from a dreamer and trailer boy with alcohol breath?
We’ve had our roles from the beginning.
We were unlucky crossing paths, supernovas
whose rubble fell together on the ground in a coded map
that only our hands could read.

You don’t think you’ll come back?
You said, but now
1,910 miles between,
I know that it’s you that won’t come back for me.
Part 2 response to my poem from last year called "Four Years."
Sophie Herzing Oct 2014
I still wear your t-shirt that I stole
from the backseat of your truck,
underneath some brown paper bags,
few spare cables, and and a crushed beer box.
There was dirt on both sleeves, but we just made love
for the second time, in your best friends bed.
I left without waking you. Just like you left,

farther and faster than I did, with a ****** parting line:
you’ll be fine.
And yeah, I guess I was fine if fine counts as holding
myself together with two pieces of tissue paper
and prayers that started with “Dear God,”
always ending in “why bother.” But I wear

your t-shirt. Have you ever had to weigh
the idea that you haven’t heard my voice
in over a year with all the faces you meet
in the bar, under cheap white Christmas lights,
or any of the girls you send home before breakfast?
Because I have. They’re heavy. Your world

has become so separated

and I’ve found a way to wear my heels to work
even though I walk thirty blocks, and I’ve learned
to sip my coffee before taking a gulp, to reach for things
instead of just expecting them to arrive, but I still wear

your t-shirt. *You’re the strongest person I know.
Sophie Herzing Mar 2013
I stepped out of the bathtub, slipped on my towel,
and ran down the stairs so I could grab us some drinks
out of the fridge in the garage,
a lager and a light.
It was cold, my tip toes were leaving imprints in the snow
my wet hair was freezing at the ends.
I tried to keep covered up while carrying things in my hands,
I got to the door and there you were
holding the **** with your steamy lips and boxers
I kept turning it, but it wouldn't budge
that's when you held up the key to the glass
waving it in my face like a sweet, sweet victory.
I gasped a little laugh that was half mad, half enticed-
you little ****.
"How am I supposed to get in?"
I asked as quiet as I could in fear of waking the neighbors,
you just looked at me stupidly,
your mouth foaming something *****
"drop it"
you said with a hand gesture towards my body.
I bit my lip holding back my smile, shaking my head in
denied disapproval.
You started walking away from the door,
I let it go,
dropped the towel down to my ankles
and let my hands glide effortlessly to my hips.
I cocked one out, pursed my lips as I looked at you
your eyes got wide.
"Can I come in now?"
I begged with a little lean forward.
You put your fingers up to your chin,
drinking up my beauty that was dripping
from the tip of my nose to end of my feet.
"One lap," you said holding up the number.
You pressed your hands up to the glass,
I lined mine up with yours
I could tell you wanted to kiss me.
"One lap?"
I questioned with a stupid smirk,
I'd do anything for you-
I just like putting up a fight.
You shook your head up and down,
"I'm not going alone,"
I said backing away, folding my arms across my chest
defiantly begging you to join me.
"Fine" you said with a wide smile.
You threw off your boxers and opened the door.
"It's freezing!"
You yelled as soon as you walked out.
I shushed you with my lips and whispered
"It's too late now."
We ran around my house in the snow,
you chasing me.
I tried my best not to scream,
but my heart was begging me
to release some pressure from it
some relief
from all the love you were filling it with.
I burst through the door and you followed,
trying to wrap your arms around me
but I wouldn't let up.
I ran up the stairs,
peeking behind me
to see if you were there.
"You can't catch me"
I taunted from the bathroom,
turning on the shower as hot as it could go.
That's when you knocked into me from behind,
"Got you"
you whispered and you were right,
you had me
a lager and a light.
Sophie Herzing Jan 2015
Sometimes when you’re sleeping, you smash
your nightmares into my pillow with your head,
which is why I think your hair sticks up sideways
when you roll over to me in our mornings
and kiss the back of my neck until the sound
of my own laughter wakes me up. I know you’re colorblind,
but you color me like a book, ignoring all the lines. I glow
in the contour your eyes make of me when you’re listening
to me frame the story I’m spitting at you before 2a.m.
You admire the shape it takes above my head, suspsendig
over the two of us like a mobile that rocks us, safely,
back to sleep. I love thinking about how you take your coffee,
how you put your sweatpants on in the morning, or the feel
of your lips nibbling at my palm as I trace your cheekbones
with my fingers like you’re a charcoal drawing
I never finish because I just don’t want
us to end. And I know that sometimes I like to skip some pages,
but come on, I just like to get to the good part. And I know
I’ve bottled up your sweetness for whatever reason
I had back at the time, and I know that I drive slow,
that I kiss you too long at the door, that I never
let you fall asleep before midnight, but I’ve always been your biggest fan.
I’ve always sort of loved you, even if it was in pieces.
I just got stuck. I just couldn’t find my way there again.
But I drew the curtain a tiny bit this morning so the sun
could highlight your sleepy face before I woke you,
and I covered your belly with the blanket so you wouldn’t be cold,
and I know our chemistry is a little old, but
you’re my favorite thing to hold,
or so I’ve been told.
Sophie Herzing Jan 2014
He had his fingers down between my thighs.  
I shook my head back and forth-
Eskimo kiss.
"No?" he asked.
We kiss again.
"Alright, that's all you had to say"

He never called again.
Sophie Herzing Apr 2015
She told my dad he was “kind of an *******”
the first time we had dinner with him,
at this place called The Pear Room
but she was disappointed that there were not only
no pear decorations, but that there was not a single dish
with a pear included. She ordered a dry martini
with three olives on a skewer,
but she never took one sip. She gulped.

She came at me like an avalanche in jean mini skirt.
I tried to run ahead of her, but she picked up speed
and tossed me right into her path with scratch marks
on my back to prove it. You’d never know it
by the way she twirls her hair into a bun at the top of her head
just to take her make-up off, how she laughs
instead of getting ******, or how she sometimes
orders her dessert before her meal, but she’s just a girl
who puts on her toughness in the morning like a slip.
She folds

her dollar bills into fourths before she puts them in her wallet,
and she strings herself like paper chains
against the sun every day as she drives to a job she hates.
She listens to Miles Davis on her record player,
asks me to dance at half past eleven on nights I need to sleep,
but I get up anyway. I pour us both a glass of Coke
and try to capture the reflection she doesn’t see of herself,
mirror it in my eyes, just so she knows that she
is not just another item on the menu.
Sophie Herzing Feb 2012
We'll be loud
Pushing back the doors with our callused hands
It's a revolution
One that we made with our besmirched American reputation and long oak hair
Things can change
We'll dance around
Letting go of what they tell us we can't do now
It's a revolution
One that we'll win with our strong voices and great zeal
We'll never silence the sound
Standing up even if they knock us down
It's a revolution
One that we'll feel with our faces against the stars
We'll be loud
Screams and shouts
Peace and proud
Oh, things can change
Sophie Herzing May 2012
I want to blow your mind

kissing you just because you're cute

and just because I want to.

I want to shock you

with the heat in my hands

that warm your cold arms

because it's after midnight

and you've just got a white t-shirt on

drinking stuff

even though it's too strong.

I want to knock the wind out of you,

take your breath away,

with the simple way I look at you.

I want you to push me down

just so you can catch me right before I fall,

and I know what they say about you

that you're flimsy and don't have any real feelings

other the one's you feel in your pants,

but I want to hold you because  I shouldn't

I want to kiss you because I can't

I want to be with you

because I know I never could be.
Sophie Herzing Dec 2015
I’m not sure you know what it’s like to love
someone you know is only going to demolish you.
What it’s like to give your body to someone
who doesn’t care what it would look like
turned inside out, the beauty of it
dripping from your bones, the words that haunt
you when the lights go out, the dreams you swore
to catch but just nearly missed.
I’m not sure you know what it’s like to watch
for the expiration date, wait for
that last good day before the question
is asked, the “where is this going?”
the self-promises not to reach out to him
days after you’ve gotten the wrong answer.
I’m not sure you know what it’s like to prepare
bomb shelters out of empty Ben & Jerry’s,
your roommate’s wine, your favorite leggings
and a blank document. I don’t think you know
what it’s like to play tag with each other’s tongues
in your bed while you just wait
for it to be empty again.

I love all the things you do,
all the stupid little hair flips and the smiling
between kisses, how you cradle my face like you just know
you’re going to tear my smile apart one day,
but you don’t get it.

You don’t know what it’s like to be the girl
everyone breaks. To have to watch days
on your calendar pass by while crossing your fingers
that today isn’t the day he grows tired of your jokes,
the day he finds the sparkle has faded, the day
the disinterest starts. You don’t know
what it’s like to hold someone you know isn’t ever
going to be yours.
Sophie Herzing Nov 2011
You picked me up
in your broken down
Cherokee truck.
Drove through the night
with me sleeping
in the seat at your side.
You paid for a room
with your paycheck
and change from the cup holder.
Woke me up,
fiddled with the key
in the cold air and dim light
of the hotel's fickle lock.
Walked me inside,
closed the curtains,
all the blinds.
Picked me up,
laid me down on the bed,
and kissed me slowly.
Not even giving me a moment
to comprehend.
Pushed my hair
out of my face
with your hands
that smelled like dirt and mulch.
Laughing at how soft
my skin was,
******* up the sweetness
in between my teeth.
Softly you drew away
the straps of my dress,
and tore off
your beaten work shirt,
blowing your breath
on my neck.
Pulled me up
with the back of your wrist
pressing me closely
against you.
You tugged the string
from the single light bulb
that lit up our room,
and clicked it off
So we could make love
in the darkness.

And I'll savor
every second.
Because come morning
you won't remember me.
You won't want
to remember this.
How you broke down,
needed me.
And I,
I won't want to remember
that sometimes
I break down,
and need you too.
Sophie Herzing Oct 2014
On a cafeteria table,
in the middle of February,
the kind where it gets dark at 5pm,
sat eight minature figurines made of shells—
brown, speckled, like a calico cat
with googly eyes on the middle of their heads,
one business man with a black derby,
one with a pretty pink bow,
or even one with blue suspenders,
and all their chubby bellies
rounding out over their pants. The woman

with her iridescent nails, bony fingers,
the skin pressed thin against her knuckles,
lines them up in a perfect row, tilting
their heads into one another as if
they are having a tiny conversation
admist the numbers being called—
B14! She stamps in red. B14!
A man pushes a cart around the tables,
like one mows grass around graves,
with fifty cent candy bars and potato chips
on flimsy paper plates. He asks the woman
if she wants ice in her Pepsi, but she just blows
a long sigh of smoke and flicks the sparks
behind her back. He doesn’t ask her to pay.

G56! She touches the head of the figurine
with the mustache. G56! I’ve lost count
of how many numbers I’ve missed,
but then there’s you, your hand on my thigh,
creeping, your fingers pushing
my cotton skirt up, up, and up—
We play with acrylic chips instead of stampers.
We’d like to win the lottery tickets,
maybe cash them in at the gas station
after we drink a couple iced teas and snack
on Mentos cause we ran out of money
two bottles ago.

The figurine with the fishing pole has one pupil
that lies at the bottom of the eye,
lop-sided, and staring at me while I pretend
that I have G47! or pretend that this isn’t
the first time you’ve brought me here, G47!
instead of a real date. Or pretend
that I can’t hear the woman cough, and cough,
and cough as she switches stampers between every ten calls
or touch this figurine or move that one, just slightly,
this way or that or

N44! She doesn’t have it. N44!
I don’t have it.
Don’t worry, child, you’ll have it all someday,
she whispers, sideways from her mouth,
with your thumb making circles around my hipbones,
and the man pushing the cart, the squeak of the wheels
B7! But I don’t have it. B7! I don’t have it.
I don’t have it.
Sophie Herzing Dec 2013
We sweat out the holy stuff.
You used my ribs like one uses
the rough side of a matchbox
striking up your fingertips
to light the rest of my skin on fire.

I'm glad I was just another burnt tip
in your collection.
I'm glad it was an easy discard.

I took a mental photograph
of you in that moment--
Bare chest, pulling down your boxers,
holding my face like one molds a statue,
bite marks on my jaw line.

I smoldered in your sheets,
you kicked me out of bed.
This must be what Pompeii  looked like
after all the ashes cleared.

I'm glad I was just another pretty girl
you liked to watch go up in flames.

I'm glad you didn't ask me to stay.
Sophie Herzing Jan 2015
I’ve got Nike shoe-boxes filled
with newspaper confetti basketball highlights,
a Lucky Charms cereal prize, a hair clip
from the Homecoming dance, picture after picture
of little month-long memories. I’ve got a dozen
temporary candy box boyfriends
who faded just as quickly as they sparked. I’ll reopen
them occasionally, remind myself why my middle school mind
found it so important to save stale Valentine’s Day lollipops
and balance that with the tender, childish idea
that baby love is the realest love and maybe one day
all those text message breakups would come back to me.
I sort
through each dent my heart has suffered that I stowed away
in compartments, but you,
who’ve seen me through the longest,
have no place under my bed. I’ve got nothing
visible to hold of you because truth be told
you’re only my friend if the lights are out and the door is shut.
I have no pop song sweatshirt that still smells like you,
no cliché letters I’ve soaked with tears, no movie tickets,
no dinner matches or menus or pictures that I could cut
if I hated you enough.
I’d have to collect your sweat in a vile and brew it
into a perfume just so the smell could give me something
disgusting enough to feel when I remember you.
If only I could capture my nightmares, remake the images,
mold your body out of actual clay and light you up
without having to kiss your pelvis. We’ve made a mess of this.
You’re just a flame I forgot to blow out.
You're just a name I left hanging on my mouth.
Sophie Herzing Feb 2013
I knocked my knee on the rod under the table.
I put a runner in my tights.
I licked my finger to wash the wound clean.
It stung for only a second.
Then it was as if it never happened.
The ditsy waitress with the blonde bun and bubblegum
was annoying me with the way she wouldn't pick up her feet.
She had a stupid Chinese tattoo on her wrist,
and like most of the world
she thought she could use a band aid as a cover up,
but nothing that obvious stays hidden that long
without being noticed.
And to top it all off, they burnt my tuna melt.

I got weird looks from people who passed,
catching the 50 Shades of Grey title on my book,
disgusted and pondering why
I would ever hold it up in a family restaurant.
The black man was eyeing me up in the corner.
The lady with the pink lipstick in her teeth thought I was erratic and disturbed.
The businessman thought it was merely for attention,
jokes on them,
I did it just to **** them off.

That's when I looked over at you,
You were eating breakfast and a ****** cup of coffee.
It was 4 in the afternoon.
I could see your Captain America underpants
creeping out of your jeans without a belt.
I could see your eyes judging the newspaper headlines.
You seemed almost as unhappy as me.

So I went over and asked if you dropped the pen
I found in my pocket,
and when you didn't even look up at me to respond
I told you it was just a poor excuse to talk to you.
"I respect that,"
you said between bites of your omelet.
You glanced up at me for only a moment,
blue eyes, **** chin
probably expecting me to leave after the prolonged silence,
but I sat there unchanged,
I don't really pick up on social cues.

"You're pretty hot."
I guess neither do you.
I smiled something creepy, because I don't do it that often,
You didn't seem to mind.
Within two minutes you had me laughing,
saying stuff too loud,
and it was the first time
that I think I actually saw myself,
and I don't really even know you
but somehow, insanely
it feels like I already do.
I was dared to write a poem about Captain America, 50 Shades of Grey, a tuna melt, and **** chins. This is what happened.
Sophie Herzing Mar 2014
I fell out of the top bunk once
completely naked
right onto the linoleum floor
of your dorm room,
praying that your roommate
wouldn't roll over and see my ***
at 3a.m.

I quietly crawled back up to you.
You cradled my spine,
I'm never letting you go again, I promise.
I told you I was fine,
so we both started laughing.
I had to cover your mouth
or else you'd wake the whole floor up.

You blare Kanye West from your speakers
when you're signing checks
or finishing that last math problem,
and I'll just sit next to you and grab
a piece of scrap paper to doodle on
while asking you stupid questions
just because I want to get you talking again.
Sometimes you take it out on me, but

sometimes we have cereal after ***.
You spoon feed me while I sit on your lap
in just our underwear
gasping when the cold milk
drops on our skin--
fruit loop kisses
and detangling my hair with your fingers.

I wear your Polo pull-over backwards
to the boys bathroom sometimes
just because it's closer to your room
and because my name is no secret anymore.

And on Sunday's I fold your laundry
on a gray blanket I lay overtop my ***** carpet,
because I love the smell of clean boxers
and you don't know how to iron dress shirts right.

But you kiss me with your mouth open,
and you hold me when I fall asleep,
and you're all I want to wake up to.
Sophie Herzing May 2015
She’s the type to eat a bowl of ice cream,
shoot a gun, and be fine. I’ve never seen so many pieces
under someone’s rug before, but she keeps
herself in cookie jars, in ink cartridges, in book binds,
anything she can find. I’m surprised she even looks
in the mirror anymore. It’s not possible that she’s herself whole.
But she braids her hair back when she rides her horse,
she channels old Miranda Lambert
and pumps that kerosene melody through her veins
like it wont’ catch fire. I’ve seen her
poke her head through old sweaters like she thinks
it’ll be something new this time. I’ve seen her paint
her skin in expensive body washes, the washcloth
like sandpaper as she tries and tries to smooth
all of the uneven edges she’s collected.

I bet you could watch her memories in a wishing pool,
like in a mini mall, with all the pennies heads down.
They would spin themselves around the surface,
suffocating one another so that only the good ones would shine,
but she dare not pour herself into something that reflective.
It would only reveal what she ties into the waistband
of her old American Eagle jeans every morning,
and that would just be too **** hard. It’s easier
to venture ******* with a crummy perspective
and a realistic approach than it would be to even consider
that maybe this time it wasn’t her fault
for expecting to much, and that maybe people just ***** up.
That maybe, for once she wouldn't blame it on it getting her hopes up
that made her fall, but that no one was there to catch her.
I’d rather watch her cry herself to sleep for months

than to pretend I admire the harsh falsetto she bites back
in all of her lullabies. But she’s the type
to burn old pictures for fun, to delete contact names,
to swallow all her sadness and paint her bedroom a new color
than watch herself come undone.
Sophie Herzing Mar 2015
My apartment still smells like cigarettes from Saturday
when a couple girls with crop-top ambitions
drank themselves through flip cups and through guys’ eyes
who purposely landed on their belly-buttons.
I might have stood on the couch to sing that song,
but I’ve fallen for you all wrong. After another remix,
everyone left and we played footsies while leaning
in the doorway of my bathroom, the wood trim chipping
but your smile brightening in the yellow overhead light.
And I promised I wouldn’t find myself
come Monday morning sitting here with my knees knocking,
and knocking, and knocking themselves back into my brain
that keeps reminding my heart that we expired last season,
and that it’s just too **** late.
I promised myself I wouldn’t wipe my tears on my sweatshirt sleeves,
or run my toes on the tile, or breathe in another toxic pack
of what I essentially believe is you. You are the *** I pour myself into.
You are the chance I keep giving myself seconds of.

I know I shouldn’t have separated myself that quickly, or without notice,
but honestly I didn’t know how to attach myself to someone
unless it was delicate and barb-wired together. I’m sorry I ******* it up,
back then, before the mess, wherever you’d like to pinpoint
the blame on our timeline
but you are the only chance I keep giving myself seconds of.
So I’ll distance myself between my body and this frame,
cut out text-message screen shots and paste them to my frown
so maybe I can remember what it was like to smile
without ******* cigarette smoke between my teeth.
Sophie Herzing Jan 2012
I opened my heart up to you.
I bared it,
point blank
in a final attempt
to win you over.

I threw myself together
so I could confess the truth
that I'm still so completely
in love with you.

And when I woke up today
I promised myself,
made myself believe
that I would be okay.

But then the day was over,
and I grew lonely
thinking of you
hoping we could work it out.

So I opened my heart to you,
I bared it,
point blank
and you did nothing.
You did absolutely nothing.

You let it sit there,
simmering in the silence.
You didn't take,
didn't crush
didn't accept the fact
that maybe someone in your life
for once actually believed in you.
Understood you for who you are.

So if you ask me,
why I keep coming back.
It's because I opened my heart to you,
and if you're leaving me for good
I need you to close it.
Sophie Herzing Jan 2012
I opened my heart up to you.
I bared it,
point blank
in a final attempt
to win you over.

I threw myself together
so I could confess the truth
that I'm still so completely
in love with you.

And when I woke up today
I promised myself,
made myself believe
that I would be okay.

But then the day was over,
and I grew lonely
thinking of you
hoping we could work it out.

So I opened my heart to you,
I bared it,
point blank
and you did nothing.
You did absolutely nothing.

You let it sit there,
simmering in the silence.
You didn't take,
didn't crush
didn't accept the fact
that maybe someone in your life
for once actually believed in you.
Understood you for who you are.

So if you ask me,
why I keep coming back.
It's because I opened my heart to you,
and if you're leaving me for good
I need you to close it.
Sophie Herzing Dec 2015
It was May, but we drove out to the shore
anyway in my big sweater and purple
cotton scarf wrapped around my neck,
holding it up to my chin as we waited
for the heat to start up in the car. My breath
looked like a cloud when I laughed, my lips
two inches from yours as I pulled
you by the strings of your black sweatshirt.
I grabbed two bags of sour patch kids, trying
to throw them sideways into your mouth
as you drove, a scattered trail of neon green
and yellow left on the foot mat under
the wheel, two our three
stuck between the crease in your seat.
I know it wasn't sunny, but I swear it tried
to peak through the overcast, or maybe the gray
sheen of it off the pavement is what made
your face shine. Your black hair looked so cool
on your pale skin, yelling at me to get
my ***** red sneakers off the dashboard. I tried
to write a little poem on your hand
with my fingers as it traced your bones
like a maze while you let it rest on the console.
We played that CD from that band I didn't know
you loved, and I promise I ******* up all the words,
but I just like to hear your try to sing over me.

I made you swear not to splash me
when we tried to let the ocean kiss
our toes, a salty welcome to the love affair
I had with the way you made me bite
my lip when I almost smiled too much
at the way your eyes moved when you talked
about one of your favorite things or about
how big the ocean was and how small
you were, even if you never said it just
like that. I could tell what you meant.
You did it anyway. The water was so cold
on my cheeks, my ribs clashing into one
another like a song my head hadn't had
the time to learn yet. You held them
in place while holding me. You kissed
the summer from my lips and asked
the sun to come out just for a moment
while I made tiny castles out of pink shells
and faded driftwood pieces leftover
from the winter. We ran out of iced tea
so we drank each other in, in layers,
on the sand with our jeans rolled
up to our ankles, letting the mask
of almost blue skies envelope us
in a Saturday afternoon spent
figuring out little things like old
memories or each other's favorite movies.
Sophie Herzing Nov 2011
With you holding up my wrists,
shaking out every bit of begging,
every tiny breath of pleas
I can't seem to let go.
I love the feel of your touch.

I don't mean to seem so fragile,
I don't mean to come off as weak.
I just need some concrete structure
to hold me as I fall,
as I wreck it all
knowing full well this will lead to nothing.

I don't mean to ask if you love me,
I don't mean to be so delicate.
I just need a night of nothing,
a soft reminder of what almost was.
Don't worry about the morning,
I'll deal with it when it comes.
Just could you please do this for me,
one night just pretend we're in love.

Soften up my cheekbones with your thumbs,
make me regret the way our lips touch.
****** me with your smile,
press me close until I can't get enough.

I know loving you
is like praying for sunlight in the rain
or failure in the gain,
but I just need one night
of not missing you
of not ripping the stitches apart
when I remember how we were.
I need one night where I can be
with the one thing I need
just to be complete.
Sophie Herzing Jan 2015
I just wanted to say
that I forgot what I wanted to say
because you look so cute bending over
to scoop the cereal out of the bottom container,
and your smile slants just like a three-day crescent moon
when you spill some Fruity Pebbles on the ground,
or how you cradle your cup of milk
like sometimes you cradle me when we’re half asleep
and our dreams start to play tag with one another,
dressing themselves in the fog we’ve created
from the steam our kisses drag out. And I guess I get
how ******* you get when you’re sneakers are unlaced
but your mind is tripping between hours spent here
smoking this and banging yourself up with that. I guess I get
how you can loose focus, but I’ve caught you at your lowest
and I’ve straightened you out just by kissing the pressure points
until you’ve been strained like elastic and your heart has thickened.
I just wanted to say
that I forgot what I wanted to say
because you pull at my thighs like I’m made of clay
when we’re messing around in the shower,
letting the water fall around us like our own little storm—
you’re the perfect sound of thunder. But you’ve left me
in puddles on my carpet, pulsing to the beat of my fluid heart
as I try to remember exactly what it is about your face that I love so much.
I bet you’re getting tired of hearing me ask if you’re up,
of if your’re busy, or if you could just knock on my door two times
instead of once so maybe I could feel it through the thick skin
I’ve grown over the years of stopping and locking and shutting down.  
And I guess I get that. But I also, just. . . you—
I forgot what I wanted to say.
Sophie Herzing Nov 2011

slurring speech

fire burning

dropping bottles at your feet.

Catching glimpses behind glassy eyes
spilling, slipping
passing out beneath the skies.
Dancing on the table tops
acid leaking words from your tongue
screaming out songs at the top of your lungs.
Stumbling, sliding
blacking out in the dead of night
escaping the reality
poison dripping, losing sight.

I remember what you said to me,
shouting phrases, spitting words
pointing me out in the crowd
a villain just blaming her victims
trying so hard, unable to fix 'em.

I remember how you looked at me,
something you wanted but couldn't have
Praying for a rise out of me,
unsure of your special demise
twisting feelings with your eyes.

I remember crying in the backseat
curled up, head laying outside the door
just trying to figure out
how to get closer to the floor.

I remember how you destroyed
every picture I had of you,
set them up to burn
with the way you played your game,
night and day
your face even seemed to change
drunken with the addiction
that you could finally get away
from everything you didn't know
how to deal with, that wasn't okay.

I remember thinking
that this isn't the same boy
that rubbed my back
combed my hair,
wrapped his arms around me
pressed his lips against mine, so bare.


slurring speech

fire burning

dropping bottles at your feet

I remember it all,
I'll always remember this you I hated I knew
and you'll never know
you'll never remember
any of the mistakes you made
any of the hearts you break
any of the colors you fade.
Sophie Herzing Sep 2014
Sometimes I picture myself in a red prom dress,
with converse under the tulle, and glitter
covering my eyes as I nervously glance
away from your face, inches from mine,
trying not to stare at your crooked bow-tie.
Sometimes we’re jumping over the tide’s
foam, under the moonlight, licking the salt from our lips—
my saddle shoes on the dunes, your jeans rolled
above the ankle, but my curls falling loose around my face.
Sometimes we’re moving black and white photographs,
1920’s with fringe and silver canes,
and sometimes

we’re like this. Naked on your mattress,
with the ceiling fan at a standstill, sipping
stale beer from old bottles you left lonely
on the windowsill. And sometimes I know better,
but tonight I answered your call and I came over
to your lazy bones on the sunken couch,
watching the lava lamp’s goo stick to the bottom,
yet still lighting
the entire room with a neon glow.
By now, you think I would know

that I can never count on you unless it’s cheap,
and convenient, and broken, and me. It’s only
ever me, but I can’t just haphazardly
stay in the spaces of your life that need filling.
I picture us, hugely, with a white house,
blue shutters, little kids building towers on the porch
just to knock them down.
The whole bit, picture it! But all
you ever see me as is figure
that you can reach if you squint hard enough—
a mirage that you like to believe
only you will ever hold.
impending series? perhaps.
Sophie Herzing Mar 2015
He holds the corners of my smile with his thumbs
like the way he balances his self-worth on top of how much I believe
he can hold on the surface of his heart without caving.
And I know that maybe the inside of his dreams
have been filled with wallpaper reminders of a dad gone missing
or fixing cars on Saturday’s, but his hands
are callused just enough to know they’re real, and they cover
me with their warmth at night as he loves on my body,
folding in my ribs until I’m weak.

Sometimes I watch him while he sleeps, tucking
my whispers behind his ear and taking off the blanket
from his legs cause I know he’s too hot, but he always
makes sure the goosebumps on my body come from his touch
and not the way the winter breathes.

I like to think we met let letters do,
in a 2 a.m. sentence or a delusional poem
that seeps from the cracks in worried souls and fingers.  
Our outlines, the ***** of his side and the bumps of my hips
fit together like cursive and I could write him for a lifetime.
Sophie Herzing Nov 2013
I put you together with a song
the shape, the sound, the length
two months before you were gone.

You didn't really feel that far away
because I still thought of you
as that close,
hand beneath my head above the pillow,
pictures on the nightstand,
kissing you in my dreams.
You were still that close to me.

You didn't really feel that far away
until you got far away.
Until the distance wasn't a number
it was me not calling every hour
it was me not tracing all your steps
it was me starting to
not forget
but just
push past it.

You feel really far away from me now.
Like it wouldn't be just a plane ride.
It would take a lot more than an old photo in a frame
or a backwards hat memory
of something we loved when you were here
and you were mine.

You feel really far away from me now.
Sophie Herzing Oct 2014
For the third time, I’ve found myself *******
in the reality of how I was perceived
by the people who passed me on the sidewalk,
or who met me at the party, or who
took my heart and collided it with their hips.

And by now even I know that I should know
how the rest of the conversation will go.
My cheekbones will grace the slander
of a compliment skewed, a lust
for my body ruined by misplaced intentions.
My agreement
to go back to his room was never welcomed
by my head, but instead
the sad bed with its sheets already turned down
waits for me and I hate it. I hate it
like an insomniac hates sleep, like the sun
loves ice cream.

For the third time, I’ve found myself smashed
into a wall of circumstances, appearances
cushioning the blow. My pretty face,
my pretty face, my pretty face!
God, how I’d love to put on a show
so you could see how my mind tumbles
across all the roads I know I shouldn’t be crossing.
How my eyes dance on every temptation just waiting
for the hand to be dealt, for the bet to be placed.

For the third time, I’ve let myself be bound
by the vibration of reassurance, by the ring
of a telephone. I’ve lost
a part of myself in you. How haphazardly ineloquent
it all seems in my nightmares, how blessed
the rest of the world must be to know this pain
and be able to stop themselves from feeling it.
How dark
it is under your seat
Sophie Herzing Sep 2014
I’ve found religion in your smile.
Trusted the way it curves, practicing
the lines in my mind with delicacy,
ripening your image until it’s sore.
Your throat baptizes me,
replaces the devil of my intentions
with sweet, rosy breath,
curling my inhibitions until they dive
back into me and I express my very desires
openly on a blanket--
and it’s no sin
because I love the way your spine stands
like a perfect cross, carrying me
to the vision you have of a better me
than what I used to be.
I’ve prayed for your thighs in naughty ways,
but you’ve taken my hands,
folded them into shapes I can’t comprehend
and kissed my fingertips until I was crying
out of confusion and catharsis,
finally understanding what it feels like to count
people, you, as a blessing.
I see God when you make instruments
out of blades of grass, or how that strap
slides off your shoulders when the wind
graces the moment with a whisper.
He gave me an angel disguised as a woman
with too many pillows on her bed and coffee breath,
but you pull me from point to point like taffy,
slowly, lagging, molding me into the gift
you never wished for. I, bestowed at His feet,
unwilling found a soul and a heartbeat
louder than any of my unforgiving words.
Sophie Herzing Sep 2013
We were lying there and I was asking about forever.
You told me you didn't believe in words that had an "ever."
You didn't believe in any happily ever after
not a believer
no everlasting
in your

Just a lot of moments and drinking
and calling me and holding me and pulling me
towards your chest or towards your hips
while I'm trying to put things in my head
in reverse
so maybe we'll be born again into this hour
just a little younger than we are now
so we won't have to grow up and leave
so soon.

You say you don't want a relationship but I didn't ask you for one.
I didn't
ask you for one.

All I want is for you to kiss my forehead and tell me you're going to miss me,
maybe for reasons you can't clearly see yet
but you'll miss me in some way when it's midnight
and you're lonely
and you can't ask me because I can't fly
all those miles in just a minute
to get to you.

The only hope I cling to is that
you'll end up calling and I can hear your voice
tell me that everything I have is going to be okay
and that you miss me and that you'll see me
sooner than it feels.

But you'll hang up angry because you let your pretty guard down and called
the girl from home who used to love you separately
from all the things in your life that were promised equally to be evermore
like your mom's marriage
or your grandma's life
or your sister's safety.
You'll hang up and all the memories of everything that was ever
good in your life will flood to the surface and blind you
from feeling so terribly in love with me anymore.
You'll hang up and regret calling in the first place,
but when the line is dead and a tear is falling
I'll be the one whispering "forever" on the other end
of what you're still trying to sever.
Sophie Herzing May 2012
I’m easily annoyed
Some things just make me want to scream
Like why it is birds are stupid enough to fly into clear things, like windows
Why leaves seem to be the only things I like that change,
And no matter how many times they do
They always grow back the same.
Some things just amaze me
Like how many things a hand can hold
Or the way people can mask themselves like criminals
Just stealing the honesty right out of every moment,
The way truth is robbed without even speaking.
Some things just make me want to hurl
Like why it is people’s minds are so **** *****
And why it is we find it so **** funny.
Why it is we cuss for emphasis, we hit for impact,
And we love openly for fear of being lonely.
Some things just **** me
Like you
And your big dumb smile,
Your big dumb hands
Or your big dumb heart
They **** me because I want them
To have everything to do with me
Like hold me in a way my body isn’t used to
Or kiss me in a way my lips have never felt
Some things just confuse me,
Like why it is on this earth everything *****
But you
Everything annoys me,
But you
and the only thing I want
Is you.
Sophie Herzing May 2014
We broke up a week ago, but
I still sleep in your bed every night
because there's a sink spot in the mattress,
your sheets smell like Old Spice,
and you hold my hand underneath the pillow
until our circulation gives, and the needles
***** our senses, pausing the blood flow
until we roll to our separate sides.
But when our hips collide,
hands playing my ribs like a harpsichord,
kissing your scruffy chin and collarbone line,
my dream begins to slip and I'm reminded again
how good it is to forget.

Coming to you is like coming home,
all washed-up and beautifully damaged.
So I draw the curtains and I turn on the fan
to lull us into another hand-painted, night design
where my lines intersect with yours,
the comforter overlapping us,
shadowing the fact that I shouldn't really be here,
but you dare not ask me to leave.
Sophie Herzing Dec 2015
We killed the lights and found
the way to each other’s lips like magnets
who had been denied their center of gravity
for awhile. You stripped me down,
measured my sweet spots out in sugar spoons,
and savored me like a treat you hadn’t had
since you were a kid, all the nostalgia
landing on your tongue as you molded me
with your hands. My ribs pushed back then pulled
again, like bread, underneath the covers.
You whispered my name like a song
you can’t let yourself forget the words to.
I followed the map of your neck with my kisses,
retracing my steps as we danced in my bed
to the familiar sound of a tiny fan
and the TV turned down low, the light
making shadows on your cheeks as the screen
changed, my eyes dodging them just to capture
a clearer image of the face I dreamed
and dreamed of again. You know my body

like a monologue, writing me all the way through,
smiling at your favorite parts, and every time
I fall into this routine I hope that maybe
this ending is different, maybe you’ve decided
to rewrite the last page. Maybe I won’t have to look back
at our sour memories, maybe this time
we will leave the bookmark in the same spot
and kiss each other through all those times we said
it had been too long.
Sophie Herzing Jan 2015
It’s like you’re a pair of headphones—
coming in two different ears, and I’m bouncing
between one beat and the words that fall from my mouth
like ransom. I swear to god, if you’d just let me fall into you
the wreckage would be small, you’d just have to cradle me
like you do all the other bits that land in your lap
during the so called “suffocation” of your busy schedule.
I get that I’m too big to fit onto a calendar.
I get that sometimes I wear green just because it’s your favorite color.
But picture us together, and not with my clothes in a puddle
on the tile floor while the shower runs. Not with your hand
playing itsy-bitsy spider on my legs as you let your tongue
linger on the dips in my neck. Picture us on the sidewalk
with a lucky penny between our shoes, and how beautiful
our reflections would look even in that tiny surface area. Then,
imagine me in the stands with your over-sized t-shirt
and you could pick me out among the crowd. How about
our hands? Just picture them tangling together, your thick knuckles
knocking against my mother’s old ring. Or even take those circles you draw
on my hipbones and practice them on my palms.
I promise you it’s a lot prettier.
I promise you I know the route, I’ve been around that elliptical
that is your I’m sorry laced with every interpretation that is
YOU JUST DON’T FIT. I know I don’t fit,
and that you think we’re just too misshapen, but do you ever remember,
in that tipsy mind of yours, how slender my body fits into yours
like we’re two half-moons just making a sliver? I just wish you thought of me,
if at all, a little bigger.
Sophie Herzing Dec 2011
For as long as I have loved you,
You could have walked around the world
       Barefoot and breathing
       Tracing every vein and skin lap on your
       Topographical map of a body
       That swings me in and out like a doorway
       Contemplating whether to keep it shut
       Or leave it open
       With an invitation that smells
       Like smoke and car oil
       Enticing the senses in my brain
       That’s been tampered with your deceiving smiles
       And touches of misconception
       Conveying everything you never really wanted
       Anyone in the world to know
       Every secret
       You tried to keep hidden in the forest of your heart
       Like blue jewel or golden locket
       You threw into the ocean to collect
       With the rest of the mistakes you make
       That you like to discard of into an abyss,
               Sometimes into my abyss when you feel like sharing
       Until all the little monsters swim back up to the surface,
       And you’re reminded of your imperfections
       Every chip in your complexion
       Like a carving in the trunks of the trees
       You use to conceal your appearance
       So no one else can know
       That deep down you’re just a little bit sentimental
       A little bit shy and accidental
       With the way you travel
       Like a vagabond with no discretion,
       But you were beautiful.
       You are oh so beautiful.
At least two hundred and seven times.

For as long as I have loved you,
You could have at least given some thought
Some sort of small consideration
To figure out how you could love me back.
       How you could love me back.
Sophie Herzing Apr 2013
I know that love has looked like an illusion to you lately.
That when you're lying with your head in your hands
with too many hours put into your midnight,
the truth of the slammed fists on the kitchen table
melts into the reality of what you're feeling.

I always knew you as a man
who kept his heart in the pit of the others,
stemmed belief in the people who had too much faith in you,
but also know that there is nothing
that you should ever have to handle on your own.

I know everything you shaped yourself after is shattered.
That you had to look your dad in the eye and listen
to him tell you how he can't cradle your mom any longer,
to see the footprints that walked you in the door
are now retracing themselves out the way they came.

I always knew you as a man
who was too afraid to be what he wanted
in fear that it wouldn't match up to what people thought you were,
but also know you gained a lot of strength
in figuring out who you wanted to model and how
you are now what that model came to be.

I know their hearts have felt heavy in your hands lately.
That you're trying to find the right way to not be so messed up,
an there's no way to quiet the silence that stings you now
between a bed that's begging to be come back to
and a place you're scared you can no longer call home.

But I've always known you as a man
who holds love as a suspension over his head
bending beauty until you were full grown,
but also know there is nothing
I'm ever going to let you handle on your own.
Sophie Herzing Mar 2013
A lot can happen in four years
I whispered while your fingers were in my hair.
The night was calling us together, time threw us in a moment
where neither of us had an answer to why you called
or why I came
to find myself in your single bed with feet that hang off the end
letting you pull my clothes off with those hands
that always know how to hold me
slipping your fingers right between the space of my ribs.
I paint words on your neck with my lips
that envelop how beautiful I know you are.
You don't think you'll come back?
I tried to walk around the world enough times
in that moment, in my mind
to tell you something you'd want to hear
but all I got were ***** soles and a steamy kiss
to cradle the shake in your spine-
Not even for me?
whiskey, whiskey, whiskey
I don't even know what will happen to me.
So I just hold you enough times until the truth settles,
until the realization has become a manifestation
of tossing and turning together in your bed
wrapping around the heart-shaped symbol of love in our heads.

A lot can happen in four years
I weaved around the promise in your brain.
You retraced the curves of my neck with your hands,
pulling me in so we wouldn't feel so lonely.
And even though we can't admit in the denial
that we were spreading around each other
in a pretty suspension of how we wish
things could eventually work out,
we understand how hard it will be to take
waiting for the other after all that time.
Not even for me?
whiskey, whiskey, whiskey
we just healed the break with a kiss
as we spent another night trying to forget we were real,
masking on our own graduating fears
A lot can happen in four years.
Sophie Herzing Jul 2013
We were kissing on the other side of the truck,
with trees bending over the bed as a dark shadow
in the hours after midnight.
You had your hands up my shirt and my beer can
was in the one hand I had wrapped around your neck.
We were pulling on each other from different ends.
You were telling me you had to leave between separate kisses,
whispering how you wanted me and even though
your body was walking away your hands decided to stay.
I was begging you to come back with tiny pleading and the trace of my fingers
in the spaces of yours
when a name floated from your lips and landed on mine
it tasted bad and wasn't right because it didn't fit
she wasn't me
I'm Sophie.

Your invisible fist came like a sucker punch to my chest,
all the breath gone and the steam reaching my tongue
until I was cross eyed with anger and tearing up
with my back against your body trying to apologize
for getting it wrong
when I felt hands on my face and suddenly your mouth
against mine in a deep, regretful silent message
that you were sorry for saying her name,
and I believed that kiss because it took the pressure off
of finally admitting I actually had feelings for you or actually cared
about you.
I believed you were sorry for calling me someone else,
but really you were just sorry you got caught and let it slip.

This was uncharted and I knew from the beginning that it wouldn't last,
but I haven't been telling anybody how mean you are to me
about that incident behind the truck
or how you back hand my writing and won't let me speak
about it because you give me that weird look and just start
touching me to shut me up.
I tell everyone you're busy when I show up without you,
but really you just found someone better to do.
I tell everyone it's no big deal when they hear you were somewhere
I said you weren't,
but it's just as a surprise to me and it stings just as much
as it did that night you called me her when I'm me.
I don't tell anyone how awful you are to me
because it would make me the fool
and it would justify every "I told you so"
that would come my way from the fair warnings I was given
when I said you were almost mine and we were sort of together
in a casual, "I'd still like to *******," way.

I don't tell anyone because I'm still waiting for you to fall in love with me,
and I'm dangerously surrounding myself with thoughts of you
when I can't sleep at night and I find myself
smiling when your name comes up on my phone
or blushing when I hear your voice
which isn't good, because it's not just a physical thing
where I have my fun and make my own breakfast in the morning.
It's a stupid romance that has me actually falling for you,
and I don't tell anyone how much damage I take from your
nonchalant words or your false commitment
because I want you to turn out right after all the mistaken ways.
I want to prove everyone, mostly myself, wrong
about how you don't really want me and how all you ever actually wanted
was a pretty body to pass the summer time
until you went to school.
I don't want to be the fool.
So I don't tell anyone the truth about you.
I don't tell anyone about you.
Sophie Herzing Dec 2013
My mom used to blast
the Any Given Thursday live album
out of a 1996 silver stereo system
that sat crooked in our clear library cases
at the back of the living room
with cracked CD cases stacked
on top of each other like a forty story tower.
She would accompany John Mayer,
making every song a unique duet
as she dusted the shelves and used lemon Pledge
so the cabinets and coffee tables would shine like new.

I used to sit at the top of the stairs
in my pajama bottoms and one of my dad's
old undershirts
watching her dance like a ballerina in a theater
across the floor with a vacuum for a partner.
She was so lame.

I'm fifty two now and my mother doesn't sing any more.
Instead, I just play
"Your Body is a Wonderland"
over and over again when I'm cleaning
around my son's high chair or the seven
peppermint candles I have lit on the counter.
My daughter asks me to turn it off.
"Mom, no one listens to him anymore."
But I know she will one day.
Sophie Herzing Aug 2011

I sit and run my fingers along the brim of my coffee cup.

I move them in circles after circles,

Feeling the warmth of the steam on my skin.

I do it over and over again,

Until I forget why I started.


I fall back

Into your arms

Even though I know,

You haven’t always caught me.

I do it over and over again,                                                    

Until I forget why I started.
Sophie Herzing Nov 2013
I hope you talk about me when you're slammed,
laying in the hall playing soccer at 2am.
I hope you see my reflection in the smashed mirror
from an aggressive kick you missed blocking.
I hope my shattered complexion reflects
in the broken glass
like a soft reminder that beckons you back
to your bed. A memory from a week ago rises,
when you were singing me a song
through your lips and cradling my expectations.

I played keeper and you were just trying to score.
Our roles reversed.
You dribbled me for a good while,
spinning on the ground you drug me on
just trying to catch hold.
I already had stains; I didn't need new ones.

I hope you talk about me when you're sipping
on something that will numb you seven different ways to Sunday.
I hope people have to stop you from calling me,
"It's all ****** up," you whine
with your eyes closed
about how you messed with me--
what happened there?
Take another shot.

I hope you talk about me.
Sophie Herzing May 2014
It's not my fault he liked me even though I wore overalls.
Kind of sad, isn't it?
That someone could be so desperate
as to hit on a sorry excuse for a woman
who strode confidently in a white tee and jean
overalls with gym sneakers.
But maybe he found the way my collarbone
stuck out of the top of my shirt enchanting
or even fell dizzy imagining
what I would look like underneath.
Perhaps, he hoped I had something ****
on beneath the big **** pockets.
(I didn't, in case you were wondering).
Yet, he asked my name after I noticed him
watching me examine an avocado
for the bad spots, checking to see if the pit
was still green. He laughed, slightly,
when I told him it was
None of your **** business why I have
ten cans of Spaghetti O's in my cart!

I was polite enough not to question
why he had a Cosmo magazine in his,
or if he was making tacos for dinner
based on his pound of ground round
or the wrong brand of bagged lettuce
resting next to corn shells and salsa.

It's not my fault that I'm a two drink drunk.
He's the one that bought the expensive wine,
and asked me to join him for, you guessed it, tacos.
I hated the way he kept his socks on in bed,
but he didn't stop holding me when it was over
and he never asked me to leave when I woke up
in the morning. He brought me coffee, black, and sat
reading the paper like a gentleman while I
asked to turn on cartoons. He had the jaw line
of an actor and hair that could be in a shampoo commercial,
and I hadn't shaved my legs in three days, but
he still drew circles on my knees as he read.

I ran myself through the shower to dilute the blame.
My phone rang all the next day, no pick up.
Just burning noodles in the *** and picking
at my nails as I sat alone in the kitchen.
I threw that morning's paper away.
It's not my fault that I love the rain.
Sophie Herzing Aug 2013
I delivered
chocolate-chocolate chip cookies
to your house the other day after midnight
because it was you nineteenth birthday and you hate that day
above all other's
so I decided to celebrate
by making you junk food even though you're on a diet
and just came from a late night workout
and you'll ask me why
I care about something so much that's not even that special
and I'll tell you it's simply because
"It's your birthday!"
"Why wouldn't I?"
but really
truth is

You're going away and I haven't decided how I'm going to deal with that yet.
You're going away and I haven't been able to write.
You're going away and this may be the last
I'll see you on your birthday.

So take the **** cookies and say thank you,
because I baked them while I was crying over missing you
and tried my hardest not to let the tears fall in the batter.
No one should have to taste sadness like that.

Don't be mad at me because you're bitter about your birthday
and you can't stand it when people show that they care about you,
because you don't know how hard this is for me.

I bet you never even thought how hard
it will be for me
and that's why I baked the cookies.
That's why I'm so upset and that's why I'm begging you
to come outside and just kiss me on your birthday
because I've been counting how many kisses I have left
before you're too far away to feel me.
Just give me all you've got while we still have the chance.

This is going to be hard enough when you're gone
so don't make it so hard now.
Just kiss me and eat the cookies.

and happy birthday.
Sophie Herzing Jan 2012
I’d like so very much to touch
The place where you were, your face
Leaving its portrait like a watercolor stain
Dark blue
I’d like so very much to rush
Run back to where you were, heart attack
Making me lose my breath and balance
I’d like so very much to remember
What it was like to have you around
Like a constant
Like a steady
Like reliable
I’d like so very much to reach for you,
Way up in those stars
So I could bring you back to me
Back to me
I’d like so very much to have you back with me
Isn’t it lonely in heaven?
Aren’t the stars too bright?
I’ve tried reaching for you,
I just can’t make it
I’d like so very much to have you back.
Sophie Herzing Sep 2014
Your tears on my shoulder sleeve, your footsteps
pacing in the kitchen where I know
you’re making a cheese sandwich underneath
the refrigerator light, and cussing to yourself
because you forgot to buy mayonnaise at the store.
Your makeup, your purse, the thousand receipts
in your glove compartment where I know
you stash a carton of Marlboro cigarettes
to indulge yourself in during afternoon traffic,
while blaring James Blunt from an old acrylic CD.
Your mornings, your coffee creamer, your head.
Please, come back to bed.

I’ve watched you balance jelly beans with boulders,
gorgeous dresses with your sweats, and your idea of love
with everything your mother has ever said. I know,
by the way you tense your arms around my rib cage
or how your toes curl against my shin, that your nightmares
are only apparitions of childlike separation. Your fears

clarify moments like this, my hand tucking hair behind your ear
while kisses trail your collarbone like a dotted line
you dare not sign. You see a reflection of damage in my eyes.
Your bags, your memory, the rain that gathers in speckles
on your windshield every day. I’ve tried to lighten
the black in your life, but things have scratched at your soul
and now it’s dead. Please, baby, come back to bed.
Sophie Herzing Sep 2014
I’m so exhausted and burned right to the fingertip,
blistering, painfully, every time we dare to touch.
You’ve worn me down, dragged me through
your loops of excuses and confessions and please,
try to understand, I never meant to hurt—

Yeah. I know. I said it’s alright.
But it was never alright to show up drunk
on a dinner date while I spent hours
on my make-up and you forgot to brush your teeth.
I’m so tired, baby. Have you ever had to look at yourself
in the public bathroom mirror, choking
on every tear and all the things you know
you should say, but don’t because you just want to be loved
at the end of everyday? Have you ever spit your emotions,
literally, into the sink, watching them swirl down the drain?
And have you ever had to tell yourself that you deserve this?
That this park bench is a coffin and you’ve killed yourself again.
That maybe, this actually is alright, because there’s things like
second chances, karma, wishing stars, and a bright side.
I’ve been here, not exactly, but in different ways that still felt
like I couldn’t breath right if you were here but I would die
if you were to leave. So I pulled my sweater sleeves over my hands,
sniffled while you weren’t listening, and laughed when you tickled
my ribs. Because this isn’t so bad. It could be worse. It’s alright.
I think I’ll have an iced tea.
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