0

Lopsided

We’re kissing
on his bed
in his tiny studio
lips touching,
tongues darting.
I hate his mouth.
I wait for it to get better
like I always do
It doesn’t.
I feel guilty.
He’s so nice.
Cute, smells good.
He’s on top of me,
staring at me in the darkness
I can barely see him
but it’s still hard to look back.
I offer up a smile
A smile to cover up
thoughts swirling around
how to let him down gently
how to say this is not what I want
how to say I don’t think
this can become anything
because he is too much of a stranger
to make this worthwhile
and that’s okay
Isn’t it?
Maybe I leave too often
before the end of the song
Maybe we’ve skipped too many steps
to see this through
This lopsided dance
is nothing new,
I’ve stumbled through
this routine before
Sometimes leading,
other times following
But the disappointment
of the finale
still knocks me off my feet
every time

0

Shadow

Oh, my love.
No one can hurt you like me.
You’re standing here,
looking at your broken self in the unbroken mirror
wondering how many times it will take
before you completely unravel.
Wondering how many okays need to be mumbled
before they start to catch on.
Wondering why I must break you
in order to keep moving.
What if you swallowed a few pills.
What if you slipped into the sea.
What if you walked into oncoming lights.
What if nobody loved you, not even yourself.
You wonder if death is escape,
or just another prison.
You don’t have the courage to find out.
I know you don’t.
I’ll always be here for you.
To remind you of your failures.
To haunt you with your worst fears.
To fill you with doubt and regret.
You will never be alone.
Not when I am with you.
Can’t you see
how much you need me?
Who taught you how to cry?
How to scream?
You wouldn’t be human
without me.
Don’t you ever forget.
My love.
My wounded soul.
My blood and bones.
I am the only life you know.

0

Womanhood

when did i become a woman.
it was not when blood
fell from my womb
for the first time
the fifth time
the umpteenth time
staining my underwear,
my clothes,
my bed,
the chair,
covering me in shame.
it was not when blood
blossomed bright
on toilet paper
after he was done crashing into me
in the backseat i will come
to think of as a memorial
i want to rip out and set on fire
to desecrate the site
of his hit and run.
it was not when blood
red lipstick became
my new favorite weapon,
carefully applied
to accentuate
teeth that learned to bite.
highlighting a mouth
that would lure you in.
devour you.
and puke out your remains.
i think.
i think
i became a woman
when i found the grace
to fall in love with who i am.
when sorry
began to taste bitter
on my tongue.
when screaming
my pain and joy
was the only
way to heal.
to survive.
to live.
that.
was my becoming

0

Broken Pussy

You are afraid to look between your legs
but for different reasons now.
Before you feared the unknown.
You saw it as abject.
Now you are a traitor.
You wonder if your vagina
will ever forgive you.
It’s been banged up and bruised,
all because you wanted to feel
a little less alone.
Was it even worth it?
You don’t feel empowered.
You just feel disenchanted.
Just a scared, lost heteronormative girl
living in a heteronormative world.
For you,
sex
is getting caught
between the dick thrusting into you
and the speculum pushed inside of you.
Sex
is getting caught
between lying on his bed/backseat/couch
and lying on the exam table.
Sex
is getting caught
between getting pounded in the dark
and getting poked under fluorescent lighting
between text messages that spell out what you and him are not
and surveys that ask “Does your partner support you when and if you become pregnant?”
Sex is getting caught
between waiting for him to come
and waiting for their diagnosis
between paying $20 for condoms
and paying $50 for your copay
between paying $7 for lube
and paying $17 for your antibiotics
between him murmuring “Come for me”
and you thinking it will never happen
between his look of hunger
and your doctor’s look of concern
between his hands on your body
and you wishing it was someone else’s
between your throbbing pussy
and your sobbing alone
between the therapist asking for your sexual orientation
and you replying “Straight” but wanting to add “unfortunately”
You only wanted pleasure.
You only wanted warmth.
You only wanted safety.
You never wanted to cry alone in the doctor’s office,
embarrassed and in pain.
You never wanted to think your mother was right.
You never wanted shame to flood your insides again.
You just wanted him to hold still inside of you
so you could feel like a home
instead of a graveyard,
a harbor instead of a hole
You wanted to bury yourself in his body
the way you want to bury your regrets
You wanted him to keep kissing you
to forget how empty this feels
You wanted his touch
to fix how broken you are
even if it was only real
in the heat of the moment
with your bodies tangled in the dark
pretending this was something more than it is
or was that only in your head
He asks, “What are you thinking about?”
and you tell him, “Nothing”

0

Quiet

I’ll hit you up, he texts you.
Okay, you text back
even though
you know this usually means
you will never hear from him again.
When did you become so expendable.
Your friends tell you you’re amazing.
You’re too smart for those guys, they say.
Nobody’s good enough for you.
You want to scream and curse,
tell them to shut up
because it’s a version of the truth
that doesn’t ease the ache
for another warm body,
that is harder to swallow
when disappointment and sadness
are your most loyal companions,
the ones who ride with you in cars
and curl up in bed with you at night.
Instead you smile at your friends
and practice gratitude
for their collective,
effortless ability
to look you in the eyes
and let such reckless words
fall from their mouths.
It’s a more loving pain
than the things said to you
by boys.
You have learned
quite brutally
that boys
will have no trouble saying
1) things they don’t mean,
2) things they only mean in the moment
but never again,
and 3) things they do mean
that will unravel you
and leave you sick in the head,
and all of this
is done much more easily
when they never have to face you
when you are reduced to
a string of deletable messages
in their phones
instead of an angry girl
standing before them
demanding to know why.
Why take the time to hurt you IRL
when they can hurt you via SMS?
Apathy is better served
from a distance,
is it not?
Ghosts.
That’s all they are.
Their words haunt you.
Their silence keeps you up at night.
You become crazy
and confused,
fall out of love
with yourself.
What do you want?
You are too emotional for sex
and too heartless for love.
What can you want?
You want quiet.
Not the sharp silence
of words left unsaid
or promises you pulled
from half-hearted lines,
so quickly torn to shreds.
You want his pretty face
and warm, wordless body
to come inside.
He never has to say a thing.
You let him in.
Lead the way,
and he follows.
He can watch you with soft eyes,
smile as he pleases,
kiss you as you arch
your back in pleasure.
But nothing should ever come
crawling out of his mouth,
forcing its way into your chest,
choking your heart
into cruelly remembering
that it is more
than just
a sac
of blood

0

Exhausting

I am too exhausting
for you to open your door
and greet me on a Friday night
with a tongue drenched in red wine.
I am too exhausting
for you to unbutton my shirt
and toss it in some corner
I will eventually be left
scrambling to find.
I am too exhausting
for you to pull down
my crumpled skirt
and the black tights you like
while I wrap my legs
around your waist
and exhale yes
into your ear,
my fingers running
through your cloud of hair
and down the smooth expanse
of your back,
our mouths waging wars
as you carry me
to your bed
and we soak
your sheets
with unbridled lust
until we are
a tired tangle
of limbs
speaking only
in rapid breaths
and eyes
that linger
and smiles
that play coy.
I am too much
for this to happen
You are simply exhausted.
I bring you down
but not to your knees.
You need someone
who lifts you up.
On her back.
With her tongue
and heart
cut out.

0

Skinny Love

I take pills to medicate my skin
so I can look in the mirror
and not hate myself
I slap on makeup
as a survival strategy
because pretty
is its own form
of currency
I let boys desire me
and I laugh
because what they really desire
is a girl who takes up
the bare minimum of space
boys love my body
no, they love my dysfunction
no, they love my disrepair
no, they love my despair
they’re in love
with a body
that doesn’t eat well
that doesn’t eat enough
that just doesn’t
in all the wrong ways
a body that is starving
for attention and care
boys want to touch me
and when their hands slip
underneath my clothes
they don’t know
or maybe
they don’t care
that what they’re feeling
is a product
of privilege.
of hunger.
grief.
recklessness.
and slow
decay