chasing shadows

she swallowed the darkness like it was medicine
and didn’t stop until she knew it had turned to poison in her veins.
all she wanted was her skinny heart to shudder to a halt
and her blackberry blood to stop teasing her
from under the pseudoprotection of her skin

but poison doesn’t always work the way you want it to.
sometimes, like the wishes that a genie grants from behind his grinning mask,
poison likes to trick you into thinking you have control
until you’re too far gone to realize
or too far gone to care

so her skinny heart never stopped,
but her bones began screaming under her skin
and cobwebs wove themselves in front of her corneas
and the vines she had once used to decorate her throat began to constrict
until she could do nothing but hope that blue lips
were in fashion that season

and she went out at night and looked for the stardust that used to illuminate her darkness,
but she could see nothing but empty light
and hear nothing but the pale voices of the dead
and silky whispers of sin.

she knew for sure that you can never see what’s in the shadows
until you walk right through them–
they look like nothing but blackness
until they surround you.
so she plunged forward blindly,
rust-stained hands outstretched,
letting the darkness envelop her
and waiting,
desperately,
for her eyes to adjust.

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thimblefuls of milk

butterflies tear apart the inside of my stomach

and pristine paper crinkles under my fingertips

and the back of my neck itches from invisible eyes.

 

i like rabbits in my poems

and the sea in my words;

hipbones and collarbones and ribcages

and lungs that don’t work properly;

i like melancholy moments and shoulderblade wings

and toes curling into sand;

hot, empty summer nights under pitch black skies

and the smell of rain pounding onto tarmac

in my poems

 

and they tell you to kill your darlings

but i like mine quite a lot

so i feed them bowls of milk instead,

and let them sleep in matchboxes

on my dresser

and sometimes,

when butterflies tear apart the inside of my stomach

and pristine paper crinkles under my fingertips

they sit in the spot that i can’t quite see

and they tell me stories.