the butterflies and their dusted wings — they're sore under my tongue. i inherited the sting of my mother's wounds — her sunday madness and propensity for hurting. but not quite her bravery. not quite her capacity to carry such wounding weights. i am a washed-out silhouette. i cower, with lips blood-red from a tourmaline graze. i shake, i buckle, i drown, and sink. how then, do i say my words without turning them into a gospel made for wasteaways? how do i become half a woman she ever was? how do i live with myself?
long are these cold, clear nights of sobriety and awareness. long are these cold, oppressive seconds. i pull this dilapidated skin — wrap it all over me, resembling an unclaimed body in a morgue. solace exists, but solely outside these walls.
i. find me shedding away layers of skin like leaves — like cracking tree barks until i am a cold corpse preserved in the winter. until i am what nature calls dead. so long each restless movement, so long, each ugly mark so long, each metaphor stitched together into a sorry imitation of poetry.
ii. find me shedding away layers of skin a until i am a hundred sorrows thinner, — a thousand sighs lighter: a sorry imitation of a chrysalis breaking and out emerges an anomaly aching down to its very bones, so long, each fleeing breath so long, each exit wound.
iii. find me laying down this weary skin, this dainty roadside silhouette these trembling, purple veins. as if an act of making amends. maybe not. these lines are escape routes stitched together into a sorry imitation of poetry —
maybe my entire life has been that way — a sorry imitation of poetry.
rip my chest the way you would an ugly sight of flowers. take everything away. i have no need for this much aching. i have no need for this much consuming anguish — this much self-violence barely restrained by my ribs. rip my chest and leave me empty of breaths and prayers for saints who don't know my name. leave me clean, and numb, and brand new — without memory and without any trace of all agony i ever kept between the lines of my poems. this isn't one — this isn't one anymore.
rip my chest and take everything away. rip my chest, i beg you, and take away all of my violence. take away all of my pain. take away all that i ever was, now just hurting — now, just lying around in waste.
i can still feel it — the ghostly echo of storm clouds it in my throat, now dry and emptied of the softest sighs. they all had fallen on my flower-bed skin, pristine as the petals that once were. or so i pretend. i can still feel it in my throat: the storm, looming. the calm drowning itself, and its haunting, beckoning call to which my feet slowly walk.
some days, it's just you and the uncharted depths of your own skin.
some days, you can bother with poems — some days, you can only drown.
no i am not kind, i will pull your heart out of your chest — stain it with fleeting moments of softness before running it over with my train-wreck hands. i will pick you wild roses — they all die in my palms; maybe so will this love. i will kiss you and hold you, as we slow-dance our way to disaster; all we can do is sigh and crumble like greek ruins dying in a modern city. is it so bad, then, loving you with the kind of love that breaks and terrifies, and leaves you hurting and burning and wanting more? is this so bad, then, when it's the only way i've ever loved, and the only way i've ever known?
How much more breaking do I have to do until my heart numbs itself? I am sick of this routine — my chest sewing itself just to be ripped apart once more. I wish I can leave it be — an open wound for the flies. And yet, how many more wounds are there until there is no healing scar left to tear? I am sick of this routine. Tonight, I wish my heart would just tear itself into a handful of benumbed pieces. And tomorrow would stare at me — an aftermath of a storm. A heaving curiosity. A girl, lying in pieces and with no heart left to break.
In all ways, I have lined up my scars and written them insincere apologies; each word — a mockery and a transgression carelessly thrown in the night. I have allowed dread to settle deeply between my collar bones: an arrow buried between antlers until it unsettles and chokes. I have sewn sadness into my skin, like a dainty, silk sundress; worn it to church and to the funeral mass of a little girl I had to ****. She'll never know how much I mourned her, how on some nights, I still do. In all ways, I have looked at my skin, my fingers, and calves, and tailbone and saw a body that's never known gentleness or summertime souls or the gentle falling of the rain.
So after all of that, how, then, can I hold my heart now, without ever breaking it?
Tell me — how long can I hold my heart without ever breaking it?