Under New Ownership

People see my body and stare.
Then look away,
look away,
look away.
Don’t look.

Drawn towards me. They want to envelop me,
cover me, save me, protect me.
Shelter me like a roof. Catch the raindrops
from hitting my face.

My face is open to pain.
My face is a book of betrayal.
My face was painted with dying hope.

I am in love with being loved.
Having love forced on me- making love-
of having it shoved in me, twisted and jabbed
and my voice smothered and stifled,
hands ensnared, throat crushed.
Am I in love with this?

Drawn towards me, they want to envelop me,
smother me, wreck me, infect me.
Scatter me like ashes, spread me thin in a windstorm
so my body will never be connected
or whole

They tell me I am in love with being broken.
They stare, and they know my body is theirs.
It has never been mine.
There are cracks where past lovers shine through.
We will do that for you
so they tell me.

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

Someone Else


The marks someone else left
on your skin beg me
to recall how,
in the rain, we embraced so strongly
that morning we first met
and of later
the courage it took
to push the first “I love you”
off my dry tongue

The marks on your skin were
not left by me, nothing to do with me
yet they are everything and
I can’t tear my eyes
from the reddish bruises
an outline of her lips
a reminder of not-me

I leave with an offended ego
wrapped in my hands like something shameful
and the thumbprint of fear
embossed on my heart

With You

With you I am silent- I curl into the S of your body
and linger over the pounding rhythm beneath your skin.

With you I am hesitant- drifting like a balloon released
from a child’s grip, aloof and straying too far away.

With you I am magical- my incantations will drip and slide
across the bedsheets to widen your eyes.

With you I am bitter- incessantly licking my wounds,
dredging up venomous words that I wanted forgotten.

With you I am timid- slowly swallowing my inadequacies,
tucking each fault under my coat to study later, alone.

With you I am famished- tearing at your silky hair
with desperate shaking hungry hands.

With you I am safe- layered in our whispers of faith,
awash in your breath like soft salty waves.


P1000632A mouthful of sweet nothings
finished with smiles like sugar
spread love thick like frosting
coat my skin with splenda and
allow a splendid sigh at the aftermath
slowing exhales commingle
in our soft morning daydream
honey dripping through the curtains
kissing sticky candy lips drifting
so time to sleep, my sweet.

They’re Only Memories

In the morning I stretch, pour myself
steaming ginger tea and the mist outside
lifts to reveal sugar-dusted peaks.

Last night’s thoughts come slithering
back: his hands press urgently into my spine,
his breath hot on my neck, his fingers
gently tugging the ends of my hair.
It’s more painful in the dark.

Now I turn towards the stove to watch
flames ignite the gas hiss, leaping blue–
knowing it could melt my skin to
send the pain elsewhere.

But I don’t think that way anymore.
I don’t think of him anymore. And tears
certainly don’t slide down my cheeks
at the memory of his earnest gaze
tearing open what I thought
was strength.