moth to a flame

feel the choir in your shaking lungs,

the mucus-soaked daggers in your throat

it’s so close and yet so far away

remember how it felt? remember

the way the light called to you, dizzying 

remember the people in that room, laughing and cozy and warm

remember how the flames touched your skin but you didn’t care as your cheeks melted onto the floor

as your eyes went blind in the flashing lights

it’s all inside your head

this whole kingdom you’ve built

it’s made from iron filings, a couple

magnets from the dollar store

and if you close your eyes then you are floating

on a rock, in space, and you are still trapped inside your mind

scroll through old messages and delete each and every one

vivisect each piece of yourself, present them in packages

hand-picked to please

and keep going, keep cherry-picking til your fingers are sore

keep going until you just can’t do it anymore

race toward the light and do not think where you are going

feel the weight of gravity one split second

before the crash, before the fall

before the words left unsaid squirmed in your throat

before you became someone you didn’t recognize at all

twist and turn and shift in the water, slippery skin beneath your fingertips

bite your tongue, hear the voices echo in your head

and remember a time when you didn’t know the kind of things

that will be said, and said, and said, ghost-knives cutting into skin

shrink back into old t-shirts that never quite fit

and perch on your candle on january 1

watch it burn your wings, watch it make you holy

and wish you had the strength to run

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


so i’m wading by the shore, and everything is fine, tadpoles slipping between my toes. but there are monsters living in these waters too. i know that–even if i’ve never gotten one alone. so i’m sure to be extra-careful on the long walk home.

cause there is a god out there, what if he just doesn’t give a shit? cause millions of people have lived miserable lives, determined by factors completely out of their control. and i don’t think you understand, that this not being my fault may as well be the scariest thing in the whole wide world.

’cause if it’s not my fault, then the pain i feel is out of my control. i’d rather blame myself than be the victim, so here we fucking go.

when i was younger, they told me that the second i held a hammer, the whole world would start to look like a nail to me. they said it like a bad thing. but i’m pulling up the drawbridge, i’m closing the gates, and sleeping with one eye open because the world is out to get me. and i’m doing fine! i’m doing great!

except the crocodiles are snapping at my feet, and the mud flats hold depths i don’t want to know; rain knocking down my spine like buildings of old. and i’ll be all right. paint the prettiest stories on the back of my hand to look at, when i get sad. try to remember what the therapist said, and laugh at her stupidity.

’cause i definitely know better than the people who care about me.


it’s funny, how old habits always die hard. by which i mean, that i know logically the voice in my head is full of shit. but i still do exactly as it says, just to be safe about it.

let it rest its greasy hands on my shoulders. tell me what to say, and do. because it’s kept me safe so far. it loves me, really. just like you. it slips inside my throat, and pulls the strings, ever-so-quietly.

and half of what it says isn’t based in reality so i’m sorry, if i’ve got my head in the clouds, it’s just sometimes i think my mind is one big cobweb, and i am the fly. if i could disappear into the floorboards, i would do it in a heartbeat, and i still don’t understand why.

but sometimes, it feels like i’m walking through a dream. sometimes i collapse on my bed, and let its warmth sing me placid, and safe. wouldn’t that be better? if i just stayed in this room for the rest of my life, where everything is okay?

and i still don’t know why i let you strip away the layers of me, calloused armour built up over years, only to shatter like ceramic as you strike me to the core. i’m sorry, my dearest love, but i can’t do this anymore.

and yet, as i stare into your eyes, i still can’t cut the fucking cords.