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.”

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.
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.

 

II.
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.

 

III.
Sometimes I question the existence of God.

 

IV.
Tonight there are people stomping

on my ceiling and banging empathy into

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

 

V.
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.

rebekah

What it’s like to be a lost boy

I got up and stood out in the sunshine,
but the shadow on the pavement
was not mine. She is lost.
I’ve been searching for her, but I
don’t think she recognizes my voice
anymore. So many people think they need
someone else to save them,
to recover their shards once shattered. I thought
I needed you to save me. But you flew away
long ago, and nothing has felt the same, except for
how ardently I admire her independence.
She floats with the swiftness of 1000
freed butterflies-
maybe she doesn’t want finding. Maybe she
doesn’t need saving. My shadow, she probably laughs
at all the leaps and bounds I’ve gone to
get her back, when it was really you who were
standing behind me all along.

Sometimes I wonder if you have regrets like I do

You’re allowed to change your mind
and you’re allowed to do it without
explaining yourself. You don’t need
permission for your opinions, and
you certainly didn’t need my okay
to leave. Because you left, and you
didn’t look back. And now I’m standing
here after all this time still wondering
if it was me who needed to ask whether
you thought staying was a good idea, or
if forgetting all together would be more
appropriate.