5 more minutes

Partway thru and
I begin to grit my teeth into the pain
I can take 5 more minutes
3 more
1 more

It’s not the same
He’s not the same
I don’t have to sacrifice myself
Or bite my tongue
He loves me
He will listen
And it hurts

All the way thru and
My fingers come back red
He looks pale
That’s a lot of blood
I feel grim and all-knowing
You’ve never had a period

He keeps asking
Are you okay
I keep replying yes
Getting ready to walk home
It is too much to explain

This blood is nothing
That is okay
What is not is my soul
Which now bleeds for the past
Which will be sore tomorrow
And bitter, and vengeful
Holding grudges against
The motions of a long-ago person
I feel in your body

Epilogue

You made me feel important; now I realize I am worthy of life without your validation.

You told me you were on my side; now I understand that you preyed upon my loneliness.

You told me you would die without me; now I see you took advantage of my empathy.

You tried to shut me off from life; now I am thriving without you.

P1020078

Like So Many Sofas Left Out in the Rain

I tore open my fly in the dim-lit room

and shoved into her. Held up the damp

flowered dress. Hand compressing

the silky nape of her neck.

Now, where did that rage come from?

 

Walk, interrupted by the neon flash

of roadside packaging: McDonald’s cups,

fruit roll-up-stained paper, trash.

Napkins, straws, bags.

Where does it all come from?

 

Yesterday I kicked the dog,

a swift hit to his brittle ribs.

Gunner yelped. Terror in those brown eyes

and he slunk away to hide.

Where did that shame come from?

 

Quiet rag-men heaped on the sidewalk

like so many sofas left out in the rain.

Shake a tin can. Not much change left in

this wallet, but he’ll use it for drugs

either way, right? Avert my eyes.

Where does poverty come from?

 

Jeans dangle a little lower on my bones

today. Walk them all the way off.

We split a cherry chocolate bar and I

spit it in the toilet. Careful now, girl.

Where did this guilt come from?

 

Mommy, this water is like snow,

so cold. It hurts my toes. There’s

so much, and it keeps falling on

the ground. Where does it go?

Where does it all come from?

 

Can’t think straight, or sleep.

There’s a story beating inside me,

waiting to shatter my skull.

I scrawl a million lines. Unfinished.

Where do these words come from?