the physical manifestation of guilt in the mind of the forgiven

walking back over the lines that should have never been crossed
down a rocky, treacherous path
not safe, but all sound
a silent, roaring buzz.

down to the river
the scene of the crime
less hideous in the daylight.
where i was led when i was lost
jumping over a fence that should have never been crossed

lies, an infection deep in my lungs
i have coughed up all i can
and now there is nothing left to spit out
i am left hacking up charred memories
that won’t quite catch fire
though they eat at the oxygen within me
and leave my soul covered in ash

i won’t rewrite the lyrics
though the cd burns me back.
it happened, it is
the song that replays in my head

emotionally exhausted
i hear the bell toll
nine rings—each one shaking my soul.
reminded of lines that should have never been crossed
as i head back up the winding road.


I don’t enjoy being angry

I don’t enjoy being angry,
it’s just more productive than being sad.
so, with a frustrated groan,

I pull on my leggings and tank top
and drag myself to my kickboxing class.

god forbid I acknowledge my feelings,

unable to tell if this is laziness or grief.

my body, a bag of iron filings,

heavy like sand and flopped down on my magnetic bed.
my mind, full of ghost cars driving
at a snail’s pace down an empty and endless highway.

I lay there, exhausted,

craving energy and warmth and hope,

anything that will shake me

from this nightmare I can’t seem to wake up from.

all I can think of about is her,
with the noose around my neck.
I handed her the other end of the rope,
and as she walked away
she left my gasping for air,

I told her I didn’t love her
because I don’t know what love was.
child of a broken home,
where love looked like dodged kisses, blocked doorways,
and a threat locked away in a safe,
loaded with bullets.

how could I understand what love was?
I told her I didn’t love her,
refusing to assign a label to the feelings I had.
I want to put my hands in hers,
but instead, I focus on the way my fists strike the punching bag.
I am tired.
I don’t enjoy being angry.

[no title]

Another Friday afternoon spent avoiding the elephant in the room, with conversation as shallow as a kiddie pool. You pick her up from school, but she’s not your little girl anymore.

She’s no fool; she’ bigger now, wiser now, sees right through your lies and now she’s harder to manipulate—she speaks up. No longer afraid to irritate you, she won’t hesitate to debate you.

At dinner, irate. Trying to tell you the details of her day, change the subject, push her away, because you always need to have it your way.

But I still try to make excuses for you, telling myself you care, just more about the other side of the family than me.

You’re making it so hard to defend you, throwing blame, acting like you’re trying to mend things. You bend things, twisting words in my brain until I have a headache.

The questions you like to ask are not the ones I want to answer, yet you pry and you pry, saying, “what do you have to hide?” Casting your own blame aside, a reason for everything, always justified.

You’re blind to the harm you caused, convincing everyone that you’re “kind.” You say that you don’t mean to be mean, but you act like you can’t tell the difference between showing concern and being intrusive.

You think you’re the hero, saving lives—running around with the defibrillator, not checking for a pulse before you send electrical shocks to a heart that does not need to be restarted.

Your questions, offputting and erratic, intrude my mind with screeching static, as we sit trapped in standstill traffic.

Every day is another fight, wrong vs right, truth vs lie, intruding in someone else’s life. Ask about me. Ask about your daughter. Stop asking about my aunts, uncles, cousins, or anyone related to my mother.

After countless times of asking you not to put me in the middle, I am still the rope in this tug-of-war. You still put me on the spot, turn up the heat like a burger on the griddle. I feel my brain sizzle, the steam flowing out of my ears, because now it’s been 7 years, and you still like to pretend like you don’t get it. Don’t understand how when I ask you to pick me up, sometimes I regret it, but after we fight, you feign your apologies, and forget it.

Your “heart cries in silence”? Mine cries on full blast; you never listen, letting the time pass, but once there’s radio-silence, you have the audacity to ask, “Do you ever miss seeing me…?”

No, I don’t. I miss my sanity.

What The Mirror Sees In My Face

Deep brown galaxies with black holes in the center of each, 

ensconced in hollowed out pearls

on display behind glass cases.

Below the exhibition,

soft petals painted navy and plum

by the sleepless nights

with their brushes.

Coffee colored velvet

speckled with scars from insecurities

and delicate kisses

from the sun.

Small pink cave

chapped and cracked, with blisters inside

thoughts racing like comets

as the darkness approaches.

But still, the stars have not lost their fire,

perpetually shining light,

blinking from across the galaxy,

waiting for some sort of sign.

I see them twinkle from the distant black holes. 
They are blinking back at me.

Third Degree Burns

Tear stained skin as she drives,
heading down a street all too familiar to her,
a sky striped with the silhouette of palm trees
and painted a blazing bright scarlet red.

The sharp pain of a vague memory still lingers,
Like a paper cut on her finger,
how everything she touches finds a way to sting her,
but the pain, like a melancholy melody, sings her to sleep.
She weeps.

Trapped in a dream, a desire
A passion that blazed
But burned her with the fire.
The bitter taste of tea
Scalding her tongue,
Love was the oxygen
of now deprived lungs,
Yet the flame within her heart
Has not been extinguished.

How long will it take
for her to get over
an imaginary heartbreak?
How will she heal the invisible scars
of a fire that never happened?

12:01 AM

teach me how to stop crying
when the sun sets
a new day’s breath
after an old day’s death

wipe this painful story
from my mind
like rain off the windshield
it mimics my eyes

the free birds call out to me
the sun, again, will rise
and so

‘Tis The Season To Be Missing People 

They told me “home is where the heart is.” I had known this for a long time, but 5th grade me couldn’t help but miss the house on 60th street. If that house couldn’t be my home, I forever set out to find my actual home.

Fast forward 5 years in the future. Both my mom and my dad moved to new place, both of which would be (relatively) permanent. 

Summer had arrived, and I found myself in a sea of tutus, music, and yummy breakfasts. We slowly began to open up and allow others in. We began to get a taste of the characters of others, the sweet, savory, and sour parts of their personalities, ones you couldn’t find anywhere else.

But time was ticking, and the restaurant was closing, and all you could taste was the salt from the tears of a community torn apart by time. 

They don’t warn you about what’s next. A tight-knit community splits, its strings snap and get pulled apart under too much stress as it’s members go their separate ways, with the repeated phrase, “I’ll miss you.” 20 minutes before her flight, and I told her “I won’t forget you.” Her reply? “Give it two weeks.” 

Locations run through my head. New York, Indiana, Texas, New Jersey, Chicago, Poughkeepsie, Las Vegas, Greenwich, Louisiana, Bloomfield Hills, Boston, San Francisco…

I scroll through my contacts, constantly questioning if I should be texting people “hey, how’s it going?” or just accepting the fact that I will be forgotten, or worse, that the memory of me and the living me will grow too far apart, and I won’t ever get back to those days liked me for me and not who they think I’ve become.

Yet I try to convince myself that giving pieces of your heart away is less about losing part of your self, instead, about a mutual exchange with others. I am not broken, I am not lost. I am quite the opposite. Any broken piece of me has been healed by skilled metalsmiths, welding on pieces of others so they fix the cracks where pain could seep in. I am not only me, I am an amalgamation of others. 

Our strong hearts, the alloys of other hearts, forge unbreakable keys to the locks of our homes. 

But this is why they told me, “home is where the heart is.” So I could never stick to one concrete place, one dot on the face of the earth, the location of my physical house. 15627 is not my heart, not my soul, and when I leave, it doesn’t mean I’m lost. 

Instead, knowing I am at home wherever my heart resides, I know that I have a home everywhere, and for that I am thankful. I know that there are people, even ones who haven’t gotten the “how’s it going?” text in a while, who would open their doors if they knew I needed a place to stay. That’s home.