femme fatale

i killed a poet once

spoke words that grated against his skin

until he was blistered and numb–

until the frozen night air could blast

right through his hungry body,

whistling around his ribcage

and icing up

his veins.

 

i destroyed a poet once

when i told him i loved him;

i thought it was the thought that counted,

but it didn’t that time.

not with those words.

i got so tangled up in

lying to myself

i forgot he could tell

i was lying to him too.

 

i bruised a poet once

left fingerprints and scratches

as i tore apart his favorite words

until there was nothing left inside him but

the hollow beat of his heart

and my voice

saying things that mattered more

than i ever meant them to.

 

i kissed a poet once

and i tasted blood.

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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.

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.

the boy who swallowed a star

the moon drizzles through the clouds.

i’ve been thinking of you.

 

sometimes during a storm,

i imagine that the electricity snapping through the air

is your touch;

that the rain splattering on the roof is your

fingers, tapping impatiently;

that the petrichor-infused wind

is your perfume,

your breath

 

and i walk,

letting the water kiss my eyelashes,

caress my collarbone,

tug on my clothes

 

i let the wind give me goosebumps

and fill up my lungs with the smell of

 

you, my nowhere boy

my shadow boy

the boy with constellation freckles and

sensitive veins, who would swallow a star

just to feel its fire.

 

it’s been storming a lot, lately.

i’ve been thinking of you.

the fear of being alone

the blinds made the moonlight fall across

the bed in cold silver bars

and you looked like you were in jail,

lying there.

it wasn’t beautiful at all.

 

on those days when my lungs ache

and i hear the ocean in my ears

and feel the ocean in my eyes

i wish for someone

but i’ve never wished for you.

 

because of course nothing’s ever effortless

but apathy drains me more than anger

and the spark that we never had has disappeared from

my imagination

 

so we’ll keep kissing

and our teeth will clash,

and our hands won’t know where to go

and the right moment will drip down my thighs,

but you’ll miss it just the same

 

and there will come a day when my lungs ache

and i hear the ocean in my ears

and taste it on my lips

and i’ll wish for someone

but he won’t be there

and neither will you.

salty insomnia

it was a quarter past midnight

and everything spoke in the rain.

 

the trees, the windows,

the roof

all murmured softly

 

and the girl lying under the sheets

listened.

 

insomnia-riddled and morning-

crushed, she searched the darkness for

dreams she could only have while awake

and the monsters under her bed

whispered hush,

so she pressed a hand against her lips

and tried to stop her lungs from crackling

too loudly.

 

evanescent snippets of sleep left her drained,

itchy, lost

as though the rain had washed the rest of the world away

while her eyes were closed

and she had been left alone.

 

when she gave up on sleep entirely

[as she did every night]

she went to the kitchen and sprinkled salt

on her tongue.

it tasted like the sea they had swum in together;

like the soup he had tried to cook;

like the tears she hadn’t been able to cry

since the nurse had pulled the sheets over his head

in the frozen hospital room

 

so she carried the salt back to [t]he[i]r bed

and curled up on his pillow.

 

the trees, the windows,

the roof

all murmured softly

 

and the girl lying under the sheets

listened.

 

beautiful melancholy

the dreams left a bitter aftertaste

that stained my day

like smoke making eyes water

long after the fire is put out.

 

sometimes i miss riding on trains,

i think,

when things were simple

and all i had to pay attention to

was the voice naming stations,

and all i had to listen to

was the clang of metal on metal

and all i had to look at

were the fields blurring in the windows

like the watercolor paintings i did as a kid.

 

because it was easier then,

traveling at a hundred miles-per-hour,

surrounded by suitcases

and people who averted their eyes and

turned up their ipods.

i think my DNA could have unraveled,

my atoms disintegrated,

my hipbones snapped and my spine shattered until

i turned into a pile of stardust,

and no one would have even glanced up;

i could have drifted out the window

into the mess of fields and sky without anyone

even

noticing

and this thought filled me with a beautiful sort of melancholy

that would last throughout the day.

 

but i don’t ride the train anymore.

i’m just a mess of tangled sinews and broken bones

instead of stardust

and the beautiful melancholy has left me with nothing

but a bitter aftertaste that stains my days

like smoke making eyes water

long after the fire is put out.

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