Unexpected

I was hoping 
you’d be
unexpected.
 
I found you by chance
reading words written
by your own hand.
 
Sweet mannerisms.
I began to imagine
how you'd feel
moving with me,
creating something
with more than our minds.
 
Soon it became clear
this chance encounter
this unexpected meeting
my forwardness,
a story I’d like to fall into,
would not turn out as anticipated.
 
The result leaves me
feeling bewildered,
saddened
when the ending
unexpectedly changes.
 
I am left
still holding my pen
writing all that I hoped would be
even when evidence
so clearly indicates
a diverging plot.
 
And maybe the unexpected in this
will be more than
unfulfilled hope.
Perhaps I will discover
the art of listening,
accepting where you end
and I begin.
  
I will,
in the unexpected,
navigate voicing my own wants
I’ll attempt to let go
when my needs aren’t met,
and when my wants come second
to yours.

pour me out

I lose 10 pounds
cup size B sprouts.
My butt is flat compared to Rachael’s.
 
“You like Alec, don’t you?”
 
I soon learn
to confuse kindness
with flirting
and flirting
with withholding.
 
“You’re a tease.”
 
I’m 13.
I do not understand what
teasing means.
I was taught to smile
and be nice
when I don’t want to be.
 
The equation
no longer added up.
 
Hours drained on empty boys.
Touches and grabs and expectations.
I plucked and I shaved and waxed
I burned the skin on my upper lip.
 
To what purpose
to interest boys who used me
to fill their own bodies and minds.
They drained me as I topped them off.
 
I was
caught tangled
with men between my legs
filling me with
shame,
dichotomy of the feminine
the conservative.
 
My body
both me
and not me.
 
My breasts grew from birth control
boys looked at me 
as curves became their canvas
to judge.
 
At 12 blood ran
from my underwear
The aches from my empty womb
 
“You hooked up with Christian?”
 
I am 12.
I do not understand what
hooking up means.
 
The male gaze
framed me as lovely
until
my voice exposed
what was inside.
 
I remember
becoming more than a body.
 
“You care more about your career
than our future.”
 
At 26 I felt poured out
until I was dry
I had to replenish myself
I’ve learned to love my own taste.
 
I recognize the power of
kindness
intentional use of charm
of beauty
I have a choice in the version
I show of me.
 
At 27 my blood
holy water – filling
Life.

damaged lenses

Tonight street lights are the only stars.
A few burnt out and I do not see
the black ice on the sidewalk.
 
I fall
hit my head.
Shattered something in my eyes.
Grey turns into bursts
of red and blue
and all the things
that don’t make sense.
 
I ask two strangers,
 
“What does it look like?”
 
They tell me love is
orange and yellow normalcy.

I crawl to my car
reach for my glasses
in the glove compartment.
The colors fade and I’m seeing
for the first time
in 13 years.
 
Out loud I ask,
 
“What have you done?”
 
Sadness comes to me
petite and vulnerable
yearning to be seen.
 
She looks at me,
shakes her head.
The view shifts and I’m there.
I’m 13 and I’m falling.
I’m 14 and I’m calling his dad.
 
“Your son, he took pills.”
 
“What happened? Why did he do this?”
 
“I told him I didn’t love him anymore.”
 
I’m alone on my bedroom floor.
My mom listens outside my closed door.
She hears a flat tone in my voice
dissociated from the words I say.
 
“He did this because of me.”
 
My voice sounds older.
Older than 14.
Thick with pain and knowing.
 
I watch myself from the window sill.
I see the exact moment there’s a shift
in the eyes of a teenager.
 
It is then
I begin to believe I am responsible
for the feelings of others.
 
That love is torturous and painful
secretive and life-threatening
all-consuming.
 
It is this moment I believe
I am the victim
and love the betrayer.
 
The numbness of 14 consumes me.
The same feeling
that helped me dial the number
to tell his dad his son called
to say goodbye.
 
His dad is remarkably calm.
When I say these words
and that I was the reason for them.
 
A car beeps.
I startle and see a crack
in the glasses
that have sat in their case
for 13 years.
 
The frames are bent,
the lenses scratched and cloudy.
I remove them from my face,
fold them delicately in my lap.
 
I wait to feel.
Nothing comes.
 

Only

“I’ve only met you twice,”

he says sharply.

Only.

I feel badly for you.

You see,
I’ve only met you
in my daydreams
my fantasies
in my dreams you come to me.

I see you in my
projections
face you in the
ideas of the future
join you in images I create.

I talk to you in poems,
I feel you in the words.
I look for you in pictures.

“I’ve only met you twice,”

he says,
as if that’s reason
for why I should not care
that he has not met me
as deeply as I have met him.

Clean

I don’t know 
how to untangle
this web that is
more like metal bars
behind which I unravel
at the thought of you.

I want to reach out 
for answers
and decide against it.

What would you even say?

It’s the strangest feeling
cleaning a wound
caused
by the weapon I handed you.

I wish I never
invited you in.

Avoidance

I stay busy
so I don’t think of 
your empty touches,
your silence.

I fill my time
to learn what
healthy means.

There are some mornings
I turn off my alarm
because I can’t
sustain the busyness.

I succumb to thoughts of you
and I think of how to
be busy again.