winter

4/4 in a suite of seasonal poems

she’s got frost on her fingertips

and a world she can’t wait to see

but it’s snowed in, and dark now

and there’s no point in trying to leave

she paints the world in bleeding colour

an apple-red flush to her cheeks

it’s all waiting out there

the big, wide world

where the doves flutter free

and no one ever stays home

but what if she doesn’t want to leave

what if the sky is dark, and cold

and here, in this small-town oblivion

is everything she knows

and she loves it, and she hates it

encases herself in ice, and snow

she’s a statue of a person

she’s a tired, broken home

she’s walking slow out the door

running her hands across textured wallpaper

woodsmoke and dust

and it’s melting fast

the kingdom she ruled, running down the river

she’s got eyes carved from glass

and tired, heaving lungs

with just enough steam left for one last dance

to old songs through a record player

and a shitty plastic christmas tree

one last night

to wash the blood out of her teeth

a short list of things that haunt me

  1. have you ever seen a diagram, of the brain during dissociation? how it all just flickers out to nothing, and you lie there, breathing in a house with no one home. how do you start to heal, when you’re barely there at all?
  2. and have you ever thought about the past? how it creaks and groans with the wind? have you traced the scars like photo albums, embossed into your skin, and maybe they’re all you have left, to remember the monster you’ve been.
  3. have you sat still, and imagined how you’ll fade into obsolescence like an old can of soda, collecting dust in the pantry? have you thought about the stars, and how they turn.
  4. have you thought about black holes? how they consume everything in their path without a minute of remorse.
  5. and have you curled into yourself like a daisy at night? and stared at the window, in a city you’ll never quite reach, and watched the cars like little wind-up toys, spinning circles around the highway.
  6. have you seen a dead cricket, on the side of the road, and wondered if there’s anything small enough to escape destruction? i don’t think there is. and that scares me most of all.
  7. last week, we learned about monsters in school. about people who hurt other people, who dug their claws into the dirt and left ugly, bleeding scars on the world. but at the start, they all seemed so normal. and you have to wonder, how many people could do what they did, under the right circumstances.
  8. today, i held a wounded rabbit in my hands, and let it rest in a box on the table. and i waited by the laundry machine, kept my voice down and tiptoed past. and a few hours later, i watched it go. i hope it’s all right.
  9. i hope the world is a fever dream, i hope it drifts and floats in lavender, and cinnamon, and bitter lime-skin, crawling down my throat. i hope my heart beats in my chest like an oath.
  10. i hope i survive to be haunted forever, in every blink of my eyes, each creak of toothpick-bones. i hope it echoes through me like a siren song, i hope the concrete swallows me whole. i hope i remember, and bleed. i hope i grow.

depression in e minor

have you watched yourself sink?

have you felt the fog surround you

for years and years on end

watched your art wither and crumple

and blow away in the wind?

and have you painted the past in a rose-pink hue

everything soft, and kind

and beautiful

and god, i want her courage

i want her pride

in a bottle

i want her desperate state of mind

’cause i have ground my dreams up like coal

i have given up before i’ve tried

played depression in e minor

to c major

to d

and all it’s given me is calloused fingers

and sleepless nights

i mine my cheeks

for silver and gold

but there’s nothing left to find

and begged silently

for a kiss, or a hug

or even a brush of your hand

but most of all for you to tell me,

tell me i wasn’t born this way

tell me imagination is endless

tell me there’s the slightest chance of escape

tell me these hands around my throat are gonna get bored eventually

tell me it’s not too late

even though all i did today

was sit in the corner

and drift through a haze

and if the world doesn’t make sense, what does it matter anyway?

i’ve got my back to the wall

and my hands against the glass

i play depression from e minor

to c major

to d

i don’t cry, i don’t laugh

and i don’t feel much of anything

trying to explain the unknowable

how am i supposed to explain

the way the clouds shift

to someone stuck inside

how am i possibly going to describe their glow on my cheeks

the crickets darting across my lazy eyes

how am i supposed to tell you  

how the stars erupt in bleeding colour

and all the city lights seem to fade away

and it’s all so fucking beautiful, in the split second before disaster strikes

and i don’t know how to tell you

how it feels when lightning hits the ground

when the earth collapses

and the sky feels like it’s mine

arrange it in a tableau

tell it in colours, and stories

until there’s paint on my fingers

and there’s sawdust in my hair

i’ll make something

i’ll make anything

just so you know that i’m alive

i’m here

i’m breathing

in and out

and i don’t want to walk lightly

i want you to hear my name

i want it to ripple out across the constellations

i want to be known

and seen

and loved

and maybe that’s just narcissism

maybe i’m going insane

maybe i’m spinning out with gravity

drifting down toward the plain

where the crickets hum

and the grass is golden-blue

if it’s any consolation

sometimes i don’t understand me too

trying to understand the galaxy

i remember, how i felt

watching it all come to life

the lurch in my chest

butterfly wings and soft petals

drifting down the river

brushing against my eyes

how the autumn leaves felt on calloused fingertips

the sunset trickled down my face in droplets

and the waterfall made my hair go frizzy

i remember, the sky was hazy and crowded back then

and by the end of the day, half the planets had crumbled to dust

so i watched them turn to shooting stars

and got stardust caught between my toes

i could have stayed there forever, you know

drawing out lines between the stars

and giving them names

watching the sun grow stronger every day

and the world slowly slot into focus

i could have faded away there,

and let myself take their place

i could have been happy, that way

i could have felt the willows beneath my fingers

watched the dew gather on the ferns

and slipped away with the morning sun