she was a  s e v e n t e e n  year old girl from nowhere [or was it everywhere?] with dark hair and long eyelashes and skin that was always pale white. when she was young she played in the poppy fields of greece and when she got older her tongue started yearning to speak italian and russian so that she could travel to other far off places.

she was born on a friday between two ice storms, and the first word she ever heard was  b e a u t i f u l. her mama told her that when she first opened her dark blue eyes, her pupil was surrounded by a ring of pure white. the blue stayed but the white turned to green [and from then on her eyes were always her favorite feature].

she always had nightmares, never good dreams, but maybe that’s because she could never stop  d r e a m i n g  with her eyes open.  all she ever wanted was dirt roads and stars and mud under her fingernails.

[maybe one day, when she’s older, she’ll take a crinkly old map and a pocketful of cash and all the languages she managed to learn

and she’ll go exploring.]

my words went rusty

you have ocean eyes.
but i don’t know whether that means they’re
blue green or
they’re deep
or full of tears
or maybe they’re a little bit dangerous.

and you have a sunny smile, but
does that mean it’s bright?
or maybe it’s blinding
maybe i shouldn’t look directly at it because
it’ll end up hurting me so, so much.
maybe it burns.

your lips are blood red.
i forget if that’s a compliment but
they sure look nice;
i wonder if they got that way from all
the hearts you’ve eaten
or the wine you’ve drunk
or maybe you just bite them a lot.

your laugh reminds me of
all the perfect words
that have disappeared from my head.
i hate that.

her name was probably gretchen

she loved the night because that was when all the best people came out.

she was one of those ‘youcancallme’ girls – ‘you can call me cindy’, ‘you can call me sky’, ‘you can call me suzanna’, like she was giving them permission to enter her twisted little world. she had more names than she had fingers and toes and she could never decide which was her favorite but that didn’t matter because she never kept one for very long.

her eyes were a bottomless black, lined in ink and shrouded in lashes that smeared when she cried [maybe that’s why she only ever cried crocodile tears] and her lips were the color of blood. sometimes she still sucked her thumb.

she had her eye on a someone now, a someone with beautiful blond hair and bright blue eyes and an overconfident smile. he was on his third beer [she’d been counting] and she had on her strappy high heels and her reddest lipstick and her prettiest smile, and once she decided the time was right she slinked her way across the bar to him.

“hi stranger,” she purred. “you can call me jenny.”

the things you wish they’d told you

there’s beauty in your eyes
everywhere you look you’ll
see it, my dearest
you’ll find it in the tiniest things and
it will make you happy and sad and alive.

there’s so much to feel, my dearest
experiences that you can’t even
and moments that you never thought would
take your breath away, and
little glimpses of perfection that make everything else worth it.

love is simple
and complex
and strong and fragile and beautiful and messy and

you’ll go on to do great things, my dearest
never think that small things can’t also be great
and always remember to see everything
to listen and search and not care about finding and dear
if you ever run
don’t let it be from your past
let it be because you just can’t wait for your
future to come get you.

run, and see what the world has to offer.