“Freedom” as defined in a 2130 American History book

Children are in cages while dogs run free, yet
somehow, they’re the bitches in this situation.
We joke about how our skin glows in daylight,
so why don’t we point fingers and shed some
much-deserved light on what is wrong?
What is your nationality if not “doing what is right”?
Or are you more comfortable doing what is
tolerated? You’d rather sit around and stuff your face
full of democracy, when you’re not even
registered to vote.
We scream at people in the comment section because
disagreeing with someone is easier than being
on the right side of history. Keep typing
profanities and we’ll keep dialing our senators.
What’s so great about patriotism if all we do
is print it across beach towels?
What’s so great about any of us if all we do
is the absolute bare minimum?
Tell me, what’s so great about America if all we do
is turn our backs?
A mother is carrying a child on hers while another
has no idea where her children are.
I spent years in therapy working to tear down my own
walls, and now everyone just decided that it’s okay
to build even more. I don’t think insurance will cover
the cost of how many sessions it will take to bring us
all the way back to the beginning-
redemption has no price tag.


I broke the fourth wall and found God

Where do you go at 4am?
Back to bed or back home?
Do you have a home?
I think you are my home-
a bunch of bricks plastered together, nails in place with
all the fears you had in third-grade, and
painted with every color you bleed when you’re

Are you sad?
Do you get sad at 4am?
Is it because he forgot your birthday again, or
because you’re naked in her bed (again)?
Either way, I hope your windows beam with light.
It’s okay to keep the curtains open when you
need to feel alive. Close them when you’re

I think we’re being watched. The hand on my back,
nudging me closer and wandering too far, is
not yours.
What else is out there?
What are they doing, here, at 4am?
Do you want to be here?
If you leave, your fears and feelings will
cause this house to crumble and
I’m not ready to succumb to the madness



What it’s like to question the need for air

How does it feel to be consumed?
How does it feel to have the warmth of whatever is
wrapped around you take over every
exposed part of your being?
Next time, can it be me?
Next time, can I surround you and invade your soul?
Tell me what it’s like to feel alive in a hurricane.
When the one thing sustaining your body is trying
to kill you, what do you need in order
to combat the existential drought in your head?
Do you remember the last time you laughed for no reason?
We sat on a park bench and starred at the stars because
I thought you’d like the way I was able to shush
the night into quiet chaos, but I soon realized you were
the loudest
song in the universe, and how dare I turn you down.
I wanted to wrap you up.
Did you know you were in love with a list of fears?
How does it feel to be shocked, ice cold, at 3am? I want
to be the fire raging inside you. I want to be
the water to put you out, and I want to stand
in the puddles left behind, embracing in your embers.
Tell me how it feels to be consumed.

Poetic Conversations with Lovers at Night

“Do you think the moon ever gets tired of hiking the sky every night?”

“I don’t think any living thing could tire of illuminating what hides in the day.”

“But how can something hide in sunlight? It’s so bright.”

“Yes, but you’ve spent so many days searching for yourself, only to find the answer rising and falling on his chest as the tide consumes you both. The moon merely tiptoes on stars, and the exhaustion pales in comparison.”

Huddled Masses

What is an introverted empath supposed to say
when people all over the world are
suffering from violent oppression and they can’t
yell loud enough for “the man” to hear?

How do we tell our children that their lives matter
when hate-speech is spewed in their
daycares like it’s a sermon from a god who turned
his back on his tired people?

What will we write about when books are banned
like refugees who just want to read
something other than obituaries in a newspaper?

What do you do when watching the
nightly news sends you into a deep depression?

Stand up. Don’t sit there and watch. Stand the fuck up.
We don’t have to take this; they don’t deserve this.
Fight for what we deserve as humans. We did not
come all this way for nothing. Stand up to this hate.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”

– Desmond Tutu

What it’s like to linger in an eclipse

I took a picture of the sunset yesterday, and
it looked like poetry. That wasn’t my first
thought, though. I was tired.
The days are bleeding together, much like
the natural gradient of verdigris to amber
-the day turning to night when it grows cold.

I think I found you there, somewhere
in the middle of it all. You always seem to rise
when I need you most. When I’m searching
for a spark to ignite the darkness, you
appear with matches, strike them on the space

that inevitably exists between us. I am warm.
I am still tired, and the hues are fading
to blackness. You fear the viridian sky
will consume us, and the ocean waves
will cease their greeting to the shore. Or

is that my own scared bones rattling
in new wind? Did I mention I was tired?
A mother sings her lullabies, and I look
up to your glistening craters; your
incandescent embrace surrounds me,

and I find myself dancing in you.

What it’s like to paddle a sinking vessel

Can I call it dreaming if I believe
I stopped existing years ago?
It’s always the same one, too-
beluga whales trembling in my palms,
slipping between my fingers, back
into clear oceans. That’s when I figured
this must be a dream. I’ve never
been able to see through anything-
not even you. The staggering opaqueness
of your skin hid paper bones I wanted
to fold into tiny ships. I’d sail
all the way back to my first life.
This dream-like state is tiresome, and I’m exhausted
from treading crystal water. Your body
could take me back to the beginning;
to when I wrote ledgers beneath your flesh
and strummed chords between your lungs.
I am drowning, holding on to what little
there is left of my composure. Somewhere
a mermaid sings the song of her lover, and I
am waiting to wake up, swimming
beneath you.

What it’s like to be singled-out based on statistics

The feel of sand between my toes is like tiny cities crunching beneath my feet. I imagine the people screaming under the mass of my body, though I’ve been considered “dangerously underweight” by every doctor on the East coast. The people in these cities are crying for help, running from the giant, hiding from impending destruction, but I stomp on their homes. I always wondered why it was so windy on this beach everyday, yet I never saw any sand flying through the air-
tiny houses full of tiny people lifting from the earth.

Dunes stay grounded in piles until noisy children bury themselves in them, or move the sand to form castles, which are really just tiny countries full of tiny houses full of tiny people that I seek to destroy. I suddenly realised that the screams I heard were not beneath me, but all around me-
children in bright bathing suits running toward the waves, as if they could never be stepped on.

I envy their carelessness, their uninterrupted joy for living. Turning away, I cover my exposed skin and wander these beaches in search of new cities.

Night Song

I’m standing on top of this mountain, and I don’t know how
I got here.
Where I am has always been a mystery to me.
And it’s not the kind of mystery that turns into a novel; my life
story has been anything but literary. These gentle bones
sway in the midnight breeze and shimmer under stars
I’ve never seen before. They are unfamiliar.

Where are you?
Where you are has always been quiet.
Cedar doesn’t smell the way it used to, and pine
never looked so dull as it does tonight.
Tell me I’m doing something right.
I need your permission to howl under an estranged
moon. You are my estranged moon.
You are the protagonist to this story I forgot
how to read.

Some nights I lie awake and wonder where the wonder has gone.
It’s not in you and certainly is not within
me. We are both different now.
You are the light in the night sky;
I, the call answered in dim forest.
We are the stories still going, the wolves at the head
of the pack.
You keep me turning pages.

How many years? (for Rebekah)

I think I’ve been dead for a while.

But I don’t remember how it happened.

Whatever it was that took my soul, ripped

it from my flesh, I hope it didn’t hurt.


I keep seeing your face in crowds, and it pains

me to look into the eyes of a stranger

and think they are you

-it’s never you.

But I hope whatever you’re doing, wherever

you are, I hope you feel all the joy in the world

because there isn’t much left here.


Sometimes I question the existence of God.


Tonight there are people stomping

on my ceiling and banging empathy into

the walls. They don’t know who they are.


I don’t know how to end this poem

to make it sound happy. No one likes

sad poems.

But everyone loves a few couplets posted

on Instagram that describe how they’re supposed

to feel about heartbreak at 3am, and how nothing

is okay but everyone is smiling anyway.

I hope they feel all the joy in the world.


Today is five years. The Monday after this day five years ago, my heart melted to the floor of an English classroom, and I will never forget that feeling. The feeling of blood-curdling cold spreading across my body (if I even had a body in that moment). I remember what I wore to school that Monday five years ago. It’s a weird thing to remember. But I knew you would say how you thought that brown shirt with the blue feathers was art, and I knew it would make you smile. That’s what I remember most- your smile. And your laugh. I hope there’s never a day when I forget what that sounds like. I remember your voice and the inflection in certain words you’d say. I still say, “I suppose”, instead of, “I guess” because that’s the way you always said it, and I want nothing more than to be half the woman you were. And I hate that I have to say “were” instead of “are” because it’s not fair that you’re not here. I’ll spend the rest of my life wondering how you’d spend the rest of yours.
Today is five years.