There are coffee stains on my notebook.
soft brown plots colonize the corners,
Smearing the ink into almost unreadable scratches.
I love my daily coffee so much that I let it ruin my note book.
And like my morning coffee you have become a staple in my life.
A part of my routine,
Coffee, class, and then you.

And I do not write love poems.
The words never fit into my mouth right,
talking about love always felt like tossing marbles in my mouth,
blurry and unbalanced.
They never came out how I wanted.
But for you I'm willing to try,
I will fight my own tongue until I can tell you what I mean.
Until I can say that I haven't gone a day without coffee since the sixth grade,
and that the idea of going a day without you makes me sick.
Until you know that I will hold your hand like the handle of my favorite mug,
that I'll love any chip or crack you have.
And if you ever feel bitter,
Please know that I will be right here,
because I take my coffee black
And I'm not scared of being burned
But like my morning coffee you’ve started to leave stains on my sleeves,
my hands are tinted from all the times I’ve held yours,
and when I look down and see the small blotches,
I smile,
Because I think of you.

I am sorry that I do not love you.
I am sorry that I have never loved you.
I am sorry that I use food as a weapon.
An arsenal packed with things that you cannot have.
I am sorry that I am always counting.
That even when I say I have stopped I am still counting.
I am sorry that an apple is not an apple, but 95 calories.
Food is not nutrition but a number.
I am sorry that you have gone hungry in a house full of food.
The cupboards call to you but I stay put,
Hunger keeps you safe.
I am sorry that I have hurt you more than anyone else.
I am sorry that I don't care.
Your well being is not my top priority.
I am sorry that I do jumping jacks until I faint.
Drink cups of dirt tasting tea.
Pretend to enjoy skim milk.
All to be thin.
I am sorry that after all this you are still not thin.
No matter what I do you are not thin.
I count, I cry, I run.
You are not thin.
I am sorry that thin is your new purpose.
You wanted to be a teacher.
Now you are the monster I created.
Trapped in the corner of the life I destroyed..
I did this to you.
I made you this way.
You deserved better.

When I was in the fourth grade I didn’t understand magnets.
You told me that they were like a boy and a girl,
that the positives and negatives stuck together,
but with two girls they would just repel.
Repel,
as if the idea of two girls being together was so awful that mother nature herself would come down to pull them apart.
I think about that a lot.

And now I’m standing here in front of you,
the words dancing behind my tongue,
and I am fighting to keep them down.
I want to tell you that I’m finally happy,
that I found someone,
that when I hold her hand I don't want to run.
I want you to know that I love her,
and that I didn't actually know what love was until now.
I want you to know that with her everything is brighter,
and that I take back my feminist rants because if she were my wife I’d always cook dinner.
the love songs I listen to finally make sense,
and hell,
maybe Romeo and Juliet weren't crazy after all.

I know this might be confusing.
But before her I was soil,
And now I’m a bed of roses.
I’m sorry for hiding this for so long.
and now it seems like a college phase,
but if we’re being honest I always knew.
I knew at junior prom when my date’s hand made me recoil.
I knew when I never really hit that boy crazy phase.
and I knew when I saw her,
When we watched a movie on the grass and I laid my head on her shoulder,
and I felt like I was home.

And I’ve tried to change,
if I knew how I would.
When Mom died you said you would always love me.
I hope you meant it,
because I’ve tried to pick between you.
Take you, leave her.
Take her, leave you.
But I can’t.
So please don’t make me.

Abby Carpenter Sep 2016

The first glass was smiles,
He’d tell us that he loved us
Or that we made him proud
Warm glow from the fire reflected the sloshing contents of his drink on the walls
A blurred dance of celestial lines and shapes.
We took in his light like the inhale of a breath,
Feeling so glad to have earned his praises.

Fifth glass was slurred words
Crawling from the corners of his mouth like a rat escaping a sewer,
The smiles were gone.
We stood still with anxious ticks unfolding before us
Afraid of what would happen if we were to speak
The fire was fading, the dance nearing an end

Glass eight brought anger
Shouts spiraled from his chest, a tornado that we couldn’t cross
Words flew by us,
Glasses flew by us,
Fists flew by us.
Too scared to move, our backs pressed against the wall
We tried our best to disappear
I closed my eyes and held my hands together hoping that the small amount of pressure would be enough to make him lay his hands on someone else that night

Twelfth glass brought sleep.
With his body still we could move again,
His neck crooked to the side, an empty glass in his hand.
No liquid left to reflect.
A sleeping serpent laying in the center of his destruction
Broken glasses and thrown picture frames at his feet,
It became hard to believe he had caused this a moment ago

Now seven years later I find myself at a party
The bass so loud I could feel my body shake,
Red cup in my hand, liquid sloshing with familiarity
Without a pause I am drinking one glass,
Then two,
Then three,
I wonder how I let myself become the thing I fear most like a reverse metamorphosis into my childhood,
And now when I look in the mirror I don’t see me,
I’m stuck looking into his lifeless eyes
And I don’t know how I can change this,
How can I run when the monster resides inside of me?
I don’t know how I can separate myself from him when every time I see a drink I hear my mother’s scream
Blurred images of memory and reality surround me and I am once again too afraid to move
Back pressed against the wall, hands pressed together.
I am my childhood nightmares,
Completing the cycle and making ends meet
Once again I am back in that trailer and I wonder if I ever left

Abby Carpenter Jul 2016

I said I didn't want you
but it still hurt when you left
I saw you for what you are
I thought you could never be tied down

But I see you with her
tied around her wrist like a ribbon
and I knew that I had made a mistake
I doubted you and for that I am sorry
I'm sorry that I pushed you away
pushed you into her arms
I'm sorry that your smile is for her now

Logically I know that I made the right choice
we would never have worked
I'm to heavy with the wait of monogamy
and you, to light, care free

I just didn't think your moving on would have hurt this much

  Jun 2016 Abby Carpenter
Aoife

how many lives
do we have to lose
in order to realize
that something's wrong?
how many laws of novelty
do we have to pass
in order to realize
we're passing all the wrong ones?

why do we pride the rapist
because he goes to a school
with a good name?
and why do we limit his sentence
because HE may suffer “severe impact”
when the one who suffered severe impact
was the one
who cried out for HER LIFE?

who gave you the right
to harm faultless people
over something as simple
as who they love?

america did.
your country allows people
to walk around with guns
they way you do with phones.
how are you supposed to feel safe
when privileged white males
take a “get out of jail free” card
as a prize for destroying the lives
of others?

if you are the country of the free,
why are people dying for loving,
shot for standing up, and
beaten for being themselves?

why are your opportunities
determined by the shade of your skin?
why are you labelled and killed
for practicing your religion?
why is history repeating itself?

nobody is born evil.
evil is the craft that is learned
by unwelcoming minds
and is operated by faulty hands,
clenching throats and triggers
with equal strength.

how many lives do we have to lose
before we realize
enough is enough?
how many people need to be
denied an opportunity
before we realize
race doesn't matter?
how many unmarked gravestones
need to be planted
before we realize
we will never get to finish
fighting a losing battle?

I'm so bitter over everything that's happened in the past few days alone, not to mention the past decade. Anyway, I know this isn't good, but I had to say something.
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