A boy I used to know
Found me one day, hidden in
The quietest clearing in a vacant park.
He looked me up and down
As if to say
You are not someone I ever knew.
He pulled me to my feet
Brushed the concrete off my shoulders
And he asked me
“What happened to you?
What happened to that girl I once knew?
The girl who accepted nothing less than
Exactly what she wanted
And gave absolutely everything she had?
When did the girl that ignored everybody
Become the girl everybody ignored?”
I didn’t have the answers then.
I still don’t.
He gave me a broken shard of mirror
And the girl in it looked
More like a ghost than a person.
She was so pale,
Eyes sunken and bruised,
Her lips thin and torn to pieces.
The boy tucked the mirror into one pocket
A picture into the other, said,
“You call me when the girl in that picture
Comes back to life.
She was life and soul and love
Personified. That girl was magic.”
I cut myself on that shard of mirror
And it seems I bled for days.
I ruined that picture,
The one of the girl that was
Life and soul and love personified.
I never saw him again, he never came looking.
I don’t know what I’d say anyway.
I’m sorry, old friend,
But that girl died a long time ago.
Where were you? Why didn’t you care enough
To save her?
Hasn’t anyone told you magic isn’t real?
Hasn’t anyone ever told you
Life and love and soul will die?
They die when there is nothing left to feed the fire.
I wrote him a letter.
I wrote him a hundred letters.
I wrote him a letter
About the boy I loved once.
He reminded me a little of you¸ I wrote.
He loved me the way you love a photograph
He touched all the beautiful places
Appreciated the glow and the shine
Kept me on his bedside table to look at
When the nights got lonely.
The funny thing about photographs though,
Is the colors and the beauty and the shine fade.
You forget what happened after the flash snapped
You forget the stories and the honesty and the life.
He lost the picture, I guess.
Beneath exquisite and profound novels. Found
I smashed a vase against the wall.
I smashed my mother’s favorite mug against the pavement.
I broke a mirror with my fist
I ripped up every letter anyone’s ever sent me.
Hit the walls with hammers.
Broke a window.
Broke my arm.
Where were you when I needed you?
I need you.
He hasn’t answered any of my letters.
I don’t think he will.
A boy I once knew
Reminded me that there was once a girl
Where my ghost is.
And you know what? My ghost got hungry,
Because suddenly she remembered how
Wearing a body was supposed to feel.
My ghost got angry
I got angry
I don’t know how to find her again,
The girl I used to be.
I think maybe she’s dead, buried in the backyard under
All my childhood friends and the rose bush
My mother loves so much.
He wrote me a letter.
Not so much a letter, but a punch to the chest,
A single sentence written on the back of a California postcard:
Remember the phoenix,
Make use of your ashes.
I found my wings, buried under coffee grounds
And orange peels on the side of the interstate.
Brushed the ash off; they still fit.
I met a boy there too
His wings were ***** and beautiful.
He kissed my scars,
Shook hands with my ghost.
I haven’t seen her since.)