April

I find butterflies in the strangest places.

 

I spent a year translating screams into confessions

and pulse into fluttering wings.

I thought for the longest time

that if I held my breath long enough

the rain would come.

 

When it finally did,

it brought you with it:

unexpected,

the shape of laughter,

a breath of optimism.

 

Have you ever seen how a desert responds when it rains?

My whole self is a desert, and you are April.

Witness the garden blooming;

 

My

long limbed lily livered,

dark rings under the eyes

because if I go to sleep,

it means less time to spend with you,

body,

 

My

dancing barefoot in my kitchen,

it wasn’t meant to be a love song

but that’s how I heard it,

I’m learning to be okay with feeling things

heart,

 

My

tumbling from 18,000 feet

over and again

though my feet haven’t left the ground,

it’s like my stomach is filled with flight–

screw your butterflies

I have swallowed hurricanes,

witness the birth of their wind–

laughter.

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Drafted

Loving you was like being on the front lines.

 

Now that it’s over,

I feel like soldiers might

when they get home from war:

way more alert than before

but on the outside.

 

The sky is gray and cloudy, and it matches what I’m feeling

even though what I’m feeling

isn’t sad.

 

I keep having PTSD;

every time I blink, it’s your face.

People say that it gets better

studies show that it does, so it must be true,

but I don’t understand

why

I am the only one who seems upset.

 

I have seen too much.

 

It is too quiet without your grenades

falling in my lap.

I know that I am safe now

but why do I still look over my shoulder?

Why do I still check my phone?

Why do I keep waiting for

something?

 

It’s cliché

but

 

I hear you most in the silences.

Atlas

My heart is a patchwork sky.

 

Sticks and stones may break my bones,

the words you speak are poison.

 

They don’t hurt me,

at least not for long.

Instead,

they’ll create a chasm in my chest.

Every rusty blade compliment you threw at me

became another world for me to carry;

 

Behold:

the mighty Atlas,

carrier of skies,

who has buckled knees

over a boy who doesn’t love her anymore.

 

A shovel tongue

lockjaw

son of mediocrity

who couldn’t dream past his

daddy’s front yard,

he made my knees weak.

 

For love or abuse

what’s the difference

if the end result is the same?

The Death of Us

You silly boy,

run while you can,

full speed and headfirst

into the white picket fence you made for us.

I was not meant to be kept for long,

like fireflies,

or berries during the winter,

or smoke.

You let go

only to realize that you never had me.

 

I imagine you filling your time

With everything I couldn’t give you,

just like you tried to fill me.

Funny how the word “no”

is the same

in every language I can speak.

 

Can you see my eyes flashing

in the stokes of the fire?

Let my ash settle on everything you own

so even after I leave you

everything still smells like the flames.

You don’t really mind.

 

I am the cracks in your sidewalk,

blooming with life, and

inevitable.

If you squint your eyes hard enough,

the city lights almost look

like the life you wanted.

Storm

Thank you, God,

for the rain,

because I have tried to make my own,

but every time,

it is salty.

There is always too much,

and it cascades from my eyes,

down my throat,

churning from somewhere

broken,

 

Thank you

for the thunder.

Too many nights

my throat has been raw

from trying to make my own.

It heaves from my chest,

all the strength I have.

You think it’d be louder,

coming from something so hollow,

 

Thank you for the lightning.

Something

to illuminate the darkest parts of the night,

a reminder

that even light can look broken sometimes.

 

It’s okay

that I am broken sometimes,

at least I’m still shining.

 

Thank you, God,

for the storm.

 

 

 

Gravity

When I was little, I used to dream that I could fly.

Well, not fly,

but hover above the earth,

toes just skimming the carpet,

arms stretched wide,

because everyone knows you have to be open to catch the wind.

 

When I got older, I learned that I could do more than just hover

I learned that there’s a universe waiting for me up there

and I learned that there can be another universe right here

I got the same feeling from you that I did from the stars

You were shining and bright

and for all I knew,

stretched to the end of time

you stretched to the end of my conscious

What’s the difference really, when you’re 13?

 

But nobody warned me about the orbit.

About how when I see you in the supermarket, my feet are going to leave the ground,

it’s involuntary, but it’s going to happen every time.

And no one told me about how I’m going to spend 5 years

hovering

always on the outside,

just another planet you’ve managed to sucker in

and boy do I feel like a sucker

 

Nobody warned me about how

when I find out you have a girlfriend

that I’ll get so dizzy I’ll throw up

and will have a migraine for days

I can’t look at the sun without seeing you

Nobody warned me about how

now, when I come home,

I feel like an intruder in my own town,

that I expect to see you everywhere

 

Nobody told me that years down the line, I’d suddenly remember

every nice thing you said

every little sign that something was up

that I should’ve done more than just hover

 

Fuel to the fire

houston, we have a problem

I would say I’m free falling,

but you can’t fall in space

 

Nobody warned me

that the orbit is the loneliest part of infatuation

because you’re always at an arms distance

can’t get too close or I’ll get burned up

Nobody warned me

about how the gravity of you is nothing

Compared to the gravity of goodbye,

 

Nobody warned me

that once you finally break orbit,

you’re just left drifting.

 

Nobody warned me.

My Industry

He was a magician

and I was enchanted by the words he could speak.

 

Rivers, flowing in my skin,

bounding along my ripples and stones,

his touch is a refuge.

 

Forests raise on the back of my neck with his whisper,

mountain ranges break in my throat

the rolling hills are my tongue.

There are hurricanes in my fingers,

the entire earth is inside my chest,

the infinity of space is my greatest love.

 

But you

 

You are my industry.

 

You reek of civilization

Of homestead and engines,

Of a thousand manmade stars,

all at the flick of a finger.

 

Your skyscrapers rise,

the white picket fences,

the nine to fives,

the quickening of my heart

matches the quickening of your head:

the fast pace of a thousand places to go and people to see,

all wrapped up in your thoughts,

 

It’s no wonder you can’t sleep.

 

Your blood curdles with oil, and you go,

leaving unyielding black tendrils,

latching onto everything you touch.

You found your plot of land,

and seeing as you are human,

didn’t hesitate to hold on tight,

 

This is mine.

 

Replace my roots for yours,

stretching into the sky.

You blot out the horizon

until I can’t even see the stars.

“You don’t get to tell someone their feelings are wrong.”

 

Isn’t that what you told me?

 

When I opened my mouth to explain

why it terrifies me

that you built a house for two

but only you can get inside?

That you stir up my wind,

level the space between my hills and valleys,

wreck the foundations of who I found myself to be?

 

If my self-esteem were a coffin

your words are the nails.

 

You look at my wild, and admire it.

 

But only from behind a window.

You marvel at the wolf song,

but from behind closed doors.

 

You say

“come inside, it’s safer in here”.

 

But how can it be safe

when the wolves howling are my ambitions?

When there are lions in my words,

and snakes in my brain.

How is it safe

if the bitter wind is my regret,

my indifference

the sting of salt in your eyes?

When my ocean is literally

eating away at your carbon steel heart?

You mistake love for rust.

 

How is it safe to have a hurricane in your living room?