Words I’ve Never Known How to Say

They create friction in my throat
And sound disingenuous,
But I hope you can hear them.
Their sound is the ring of laughter
When we recount how we first met
Or sometimes even yelling
That shatters the air around us
As we worry about finances
And meaningless things
Coming between us.
On nights when you work late
They smell like your favorite meal
Being pulled out of the oven
The moment you walk through the door.
They feel warm
When I roll over at night
To hold you close
Even on muggy, summer nights
When we’ve thrown off the sheets.
They look like my middle finger
When you beat me at a video game
And I insist on a rematch
So that you’ll stop rubbing it in.
On nights when we’re apart,
Or during one of our stupid arguments,
When you start to doubt our relationship,
I hope you know them
Even when they go unsaid.



I think I was pretty once,
A really long time ago–
–time has stretched on since.

It was before I stopped cutting my hair
And grew out straggled ends resemblant of straw,
Vacant, desolate tree branches in winter,
Dead or dying,
Certainly no longer caring.

It was before I stopped smiling,
Lips dried out and permanently pressed
Into a rigid line,
Laugh-lines faded from lack of use,
And dimples that haven’t seen daylight in decades.

It was before the storm clouds
Rolled in over my blue eyes,
And with them demons
That gluttonously gorge themselves
On any ounce of light
That tries to break through,
Dark ravines hanging beneath them
Against skin that’s abandoned all color
And life.


I am tired
Of getting out of bed
And the heavy darkness
That hangs beneath
My foggy eyes
When it’s been another night
Of the wrong kind of sleep.
I am tired of showering
Only to drag my feet
Through pits of mud
All day
Every day.
I am tired of trying
Or caring
About what happens if I don’t.
I am tired of pretending
Like all of this shit
Adds up to some larger goal,
A bigger picture
That I can’t see
And am tired
Of having to imagine.
I am tired of the zombie
That stares back at me
In the mirror each morning,
Not energy, not happiness,
But motivation
To keep fighting
To stay awake
When I have just grown
Of everything.


It scares me
How I can look away
For only a moment
When something disappears.
The memory of it fades
And I no longer have the energy
To try to retrieve it,
Remember it
For what it really was.
I no longer know
What really happened.
Everyone tells me
Different things.
And I can’t seem
To put them in order,
Decipher the lies
From the truth.
Has there ever been any truth?
Or is that
Something my mind distorted,
Concocted from thin air,
And used to shape me?
And they still keep yelling,
Telling me
What happened
And expecting me to know,
When all I know
Depends on the day.
It depends
On what I see
In the mirror.
It depends on the details
I’ve chosen to focus on.
And they’re all in pieces
Like broken glass
Shimmering deep inside of a fog.
Today some have caught the light
While others are still
Shrouded in darkness.
I can never seem
To grasp them all.


Her lips were always smiling,
A bright shade of pink
That always made me think of spring.
We’d sit at the table for hours,
Picking beads of certain colors
And arranging them in stencils
To later be ironed.
I always loved the sparkly orange one
Because it looked
Like the wings of a monarch butterfly.
And that’s what she was:
The monarch of our family.
Wings stretched,
Sparkling in the sunlight,
I know she must be soaring
Somewhere in sunset-pink clouds.

When We Were Young

Once upon a time,
Joy poured from thick, gray clouds.
You and I
I kicked puddles at you,
And you tried to push me into them
As we screamed,
Wild beasts that we were
When we were young.
My straight hair
And curled around my rosy cheeks.
Your glasses
And you abandoned them
And all caution.
The others
Ran inside.
We stayed.
We lived
In the mud and grime,
And we were free.
It rains again,
But what falls from those clouds
Is sorrow
As you put up an umbrella
To protect your vision
And hurry inside.

Merry Go Round

I used to love
The merry-go-’round,
Always riding
Up and down
On a beautiful horse
Whose mane stood still
As it rode in circles,
Ignorant to thrill.
There came a day
When it began to feel slow,
And I realized
There was nowhere to go
On a horse that always
Rode the same path,
The scenery always
The same as it passed.