flap your little butterfly wings in my chest, and tell me how things are improving. (no really, like you mean it this time.) sing to me, caterpillar, about how people are trying their best. with love in their hearts, somewhere so deep inside. and tell me how they’re still evil, still cruel, still shatter people like bird’s eggs in their palms and watch the blood pool on the floor. flap your little butterfly wings, and fly away from all of it. paint yourself comforting shades of pink and blue and tell me things that make sense; build up stories like scaffolding. like a haunting, like a home. kiss the places i’ve been hurt, and whisper sweet nothings as my stomach churns. i think i’m gonna be sick. i think i’m gonna lie in bed all morning, and look out at the world from my bedroom window, cast in darkened light. rest your head on my shoulder, and say you’ll stay. say you’ll put all the pieces back together with duct tape and glue. i’ll braid flowers in your hair, and it’ll be just like in the movies. it won’t hurt, it won’t ache, and i won’t cry about it later, when you fly away into the summer breeze, somewhere i can’t go. i won’t feel it, galaxies crumbling in my mind. i’ll stand there on the driveway, until i’m buried in snow.

I’m not totally sure where this came from, but I think it turned out really pretty.

good people

the world is horrible

and i am selfish

greedy fingers and poison-ivy tears

crawling down my cheeks

the world is horrible

and you are sweet

and pure, and kind

you are freckled cheeks and moonlight

fault lines running down your tongue

the world is horrible

and cold, but you still stop

to pet dogs on the side of the street

and say i love you to people you’ve barely just met

like it costs nothing

like you don’t know those words mean a promise

i’m terrified one day

i won’t be able to keep

the world is horrible, but have you ever looked up at the stars

and made up constellations in the sky

snuggled up close to the people you love most in the world

and felt significant

for the first time in your life

the world is horrible

but there’s still soup on cold days

flannel shirts over sweaters

old pictures from back when i was a kid

and the way we say i love you, every time we hang up the phone

the world is horrible,

and the lady at the bus stop still offers me a smile

and the woman passing by pulls over

when i crash my bike coming home

the world is horrible

because all of those people will still go to war

they will march forward, blind to the bones beneath their feet

they will laugh and kiss your face

and they will fall onto the gravel and weep

for what you have become

the world is horrible

and i still want you to sing me to sleep

with songs from years go

i promise, i won’t ask you where you’ve been

i found a bird by the window

i. i found a bird by the window the other day

shaking; feathers on the concrete

and i wanted to shatter

for this poor, broken thing

i wanted to love it better

with sheer force of will

i wanted to cradle it with shaking fingertips

and be best friends until the end

of our days

yeah, we’d hold hands in the hallways

and eat lunch by the steps

and he would need me more than anyone else

he would never leave, never run short

of messes to clean up

and problems to be helped

so i could bitch and moan about the mess on the floor

even as i held his hand and spilled the milk

i’d spin around in circles, i’d keep him on a leash

(it was never about the bird, and it was always about me)

ii. i found a bird by the window

and i tried my best to fix him, with clumsy fingers

and messy breaths,

i’m slamming my fists against the washing machine

‘cause who was i

to try to fix things i can’t control

like wheelchairs and blank eyes

i don’t cry when he dies a stranger

skin sagging on frail bones

when there is nothing left to do

i sink to the floor

and plant myself a garden of belladonna and oleander

but my shaking hands

can’t even make nightshade grow

iii. i found a bird by the window the other day

crouched beside him, felt his quivering wings and his racing heart

took a minute for him to recover

but he did; fluttered shaky wings and took off to the sky

with the dreams i’ll never chase

and the dust on my skin

with the ripped-up carpet

and the terror pulsing in my chest

i found a bird by the window the other day

and i cried as i watched it leave

‘cause it’s gonna be happy

it’s gonna be fine

and i’m gonna cry

i’m gonna spend this afternoon standing out in the rain

the ninth hour

do you ever zone out sometimes

on the ninth hour

you’ve been staring at some pixels on a screen

but no matter how hard you try

it never comes out right

and holy shit, this is how i’m spending my life

i’m spinning around my room in a secondhand dress

i’m closing the curtains and slamming my head

against the maple desk

i’m bleeding on the bathroom floor

holy shit, this is how the days go past

going to work

scrolling through my phone

and worshipping the sun, even as it drips down my throat

holy shit, do you remember

learning about it way back when we weren’t sure

if the sun would rise without blood spilled on marble

so we did it again, and again

for another day on earth

another chance to make it right

do you remember how that thought

used to haunt you at night

how you wondered in the tiniest part of your mind

what people might do

to keep their children alive

do you remember how you closed your eyes

before you looked into the sun; how it

was warm on your cheeks

it was brilliant and relentless

and the dew-soaked grass soaked your sneakers

so you walked home with wet feet

and is there anything more lonely

than standing up on your tiptoes to grab the tea

and spices, or driving yourself home

i’d go back to blind faith and simple rules

in a heartbeat

i’d colour inside the lines

stitch the constellations back together in perfect order

just to never leave your side

but on the ninth hour

staring at some pixels on a screen

i think i’ve found it

my missing puzzle piece.

ode to a stranger’s home

the driveway is cracking to pieces, and the lawn’s more weeds than grass. your world’s slipped past its time now, hasn’t it? and so i’m walking up the stairs, and i’m sifting through the heaps of old books from the seventies. with their glossy covers, and their overzealous promises. my mom would have been a kid back then. the carpet is stained, and the wallpaper is peeling, grape-vine growing in through the ceiling. it’s been a long time since anyone has called this place a home; silverware strewn out on the floor like a secret code. and isn’t it such a shame, that someone could have all this, and still let it crumble to shattered glass and rotting boards of wood? isn’t it a shame that the world will never know what happened in these four walls, down to the very last days? isn’t it a shame that it all looks so small, as i walk through the dew-soaked grass. away.

I’ve had a couple of experiences in the past six months where, by chance, I’ve ended up wandering around old homes. I went to this estate sale a couple days ago, and it was such a weird experience to walk around in this stranger’s home. (The second time was helping move a friend of a friend out of their house–I shot some photos while I was doing it, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever post them.) It just got me thinking. I don’t know if this is something anyone other than me has experienced–but have you ever outgrown your favourite pair of jeans, shoved them in a drawer, and then come across them months later, and suddenly these pants you used to wear every day are unrecognizable? I think that most things in our lives are really like they–they seem more important up close. Even huge things, like houses. And then, suddenly, you’ve outgrown this thing, you’ve left it behind, and it doesn’t feel like yours at all. That’s the feeling I was hoping to capture with this poem.