Monarch

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.

Phoenix

Gray walls surround me, desolate and empty.
No pictures hang here, no art, no color.
So barren and void of all feeling, all emotion.
Water seeps down from one corner,
Inspiring cracks in the paint to form around it.
In one place, the paint has chipped off entirely,
Revealing a single orange fleck
Of immunity to this depression.
I begin chipping the paint with my fingernails,
Desperately needing to know
What lies dormant beneath its cold surface.
The chips flutter to the ground, catching the light,
Like snow against the dreary, gray background.
They collect at my feet, sticking to my socks,
Gathering in a pile on the floor around them,
A cluster of ashes, dust, and decay.
I stare at the pile as it grows, my fingers still picking,
Gray chips floating down like smoke billowing up
As the pile of ashes stretches higher.
The cracking of chipping paint like the crackling of a fire,
Leaving disintegrated residue beneath its brilliant flame.
It is alive.
The chipped away paint reveals a vibrant mosaic,
Color stretching from the pile of ashes upward,
Like fiery wings erupting from nothingness,
Illuminating the room with newfound glory,
Creating summer from a wintry wasteland.
A shame it was ever hidden,
But how extraordinary to uncover,
Born from the ashes,
Inspiration.

Can You Hear Me?

Can you hear me?
Can you hear
The cracking,
The wavering,
The fear?
Can you decipher
The words
That rise from my lips,
Their meaning?
Are we speaking
The same language,
Or have I suddenly begun
Chanting in tongues
That only I
Can understand?
Can you hear the running
Of tears down my cheeks,
Or the stinging
As they burn them?
Can you hear
The pain you’re causing
The scraping
The bruising?
Is my drunken slur
Too thick
For you to comprehend?
Is it the wind
That’s drowning me out
Or am I speaking to you
From underwater?
Can you hear
The fire in my throat
As I struggle
To keep speaking
To keep trying
To make you hear me?
Can you hear
The simmering
Of water vapor
When at last
I give up?

Worth

I asked for it.
When he told me,
In my drunken haze,
What he wanted from me,
In hushed tones
I leaned in and whispered,
Anxiety in every slur,
“I never have…
Before…”
He asked me
If that was a yes or a no.

I waited until we were alone
To tell him,
Louder this time,
“Maybe this isn’t such a good idea.”
But he had full intentions
Of giving me what I was asking for.
I repeated even more loudly,
“I don’t think we should do this.”
He kissed me harder,
Pulled more fervently at my clothes,
As if I was telling him
To hurry up and give it to me.
Because asking for it
Never meant that I asked.
It’s always only meant
That I deserved it.

Wishing You Well

I wish you much love—
None returned.
So that you feel only
Disappointment.
I wish you many smiles—
No joy.
So that you know only
Isolation.
May your dreams wither,
And your soul cry,
And may you never
Know empathy
From another.
May your smile
Successfully
Disguise your misery,
And may others
Always tell you
To smile more.

Thin Ice

Her eyes struck my core,
Cold,
Like winter mint.
If I inhaled
I could feel the sharpness
Of the air in my lungs,
But I would never
Want to stop
Breathing in their beauty.
Each time,
Each gaze,
Each breath,
The air caught in my throat,
Burning with unsaid words,
Words that would never
Do them justice.
They were not worthy,
Not good enough
To capture the essence
Of swimming too deep,
Into overwhelming darkness,
Not knowing
Which was was up,
Which way was down,
Direction elluding me.
I could no longer breathe,
I was drowning,
But I did not want
To come up for air.
I wanted to forever
Breathe them in,
Their intoxicating beauty
Into my lungs,
Entranced
By the mystery
Behind the breathtaking blue
Of her eyes.

Shattered Mirror

Blue eyes rimmed in darkness;

She hasn’t slept in days.
Pink lips set in a thin line against pale skin;
She’s angry.
She taps a finger at the keys
To hear the piano’s tune.
It rings like death through the mansion,
Drowning with a fatal moan into red curtains.

 

“Who are you?”
I scream at her in fear,
Drawing her attention for the first time.
A smile pulls at the corners of her mouth.
“You mean you don’t recognize me?”
She circles me once,
Then comes to a halt right in front of me.
Our identical pale, blue eyes lock onto each other,
Like I’m staring into some demented fun-house mirror.

 

“Stop shutting me out.”
Her voice bellows in my ears,
But I ignore it,
Closing my eyes,
                            s                       t                 e                             g
                                    h                       t                  r              n
                                             a                                         i

The connection.