It starts with gin and pills,
maybe not both at the same time,
but a kind of much needed peace.
I chase the feeling across towns; the calm in my
chest, the sky breaking open with relief.
and the world exhales with me.
I let go of all that I could never
I crumble into myself.
I take dreams of broken teeth and empty suitcases and
willow branches to weave a nest. It’s a small,
******, rock-bottom nest, but it’s mine
and I don’t give a ****:
I love my rock bottom nest.
I dream myself a thousand lifetimes.
In one, I am begging to be forgiven on someone’s doorstep.
In another, I am sinking to the bottom of the river
and asking: does this make me pure?
I dream myself books and teak and petrichor and
liquor, I dream myself
a new reflection, one less scarred, please -
(these days I just look at myself like – Oh, this
****** up thing? I got that in a no man’s land.)
I come back to myself and find it all so simple;
where the hell am I gonna go if not up?
I wear red.
I am celebrating something.
In a fit of fury, I leave.
I leave a lot.
Somewhere off the highway, I leave myself too.
I bury her in a shallow grave because I might need her,
and resurrection is so easy
when you know what the ghosts want to hear.
I learn the taste of liminal places intimately.
I smoke too much, I don’t drink nearly enough.
Once, I spend a whole month without ever leaving the house,
like an afterthought.
Like an afterthought, I forget to celebrate
birthdays and anniversaries and lives
boiling in me.
I leave faster.
I buy sturdy shoes and a new jacket and meet
people who say my name the way I have never
heard it before. They hold my name in their mouths
like it is precious, like it is something to
a Novel Concept,
and I am not ready.
I take my belly and turn it into a pitcher,
all I do is pour all that I could never say.
When I hit my knee against the table, I scream.
Does it hurt that bad? God, no.
I just have a lot to make up for.
I eat like the cavalry is coming,
wear combat boots
to all the nicest restaurants.
I let myself be nurtured.
I kiss men who… well ****, they’re not going to love me,
you know? But we can both agree to love
I walk six miles and never even feel a thing.
My heart is strangely quiet.
My heart hears five “I love you”s in a year and
I **** it with my broken nail, say, “Don’t embarrass me,
come on, say something, for ****’s sake”
and my heart, the ******, locks its mouth and
throws the key into the river.
Later, I understand.
Later I say: good on you. At least one of us
is using their brain.
But anyway, at some point
I start wearing red.
And I got this feeling I can’t shake-
it’s like I am celebrating something
but I don’t know what it is.
I just know that it is important.
It might be my life.
From my newest book, Persephone in a Motel Room. Available on Amazon. Find more poetry on Instagram @ lanarafaelapoetry.