the perfect strangershe misses colin the most at night, when, waking from nightmares, her hand reaches out into the darkness for someone who is no longer there.
an unexpected message flares briefly on her screen, long enough for her heart to drop into her stomach in surpriseher ex-boyfriend's little sister's ex-boyfriend? sighing, she types a hello and strains her memory to recall what she knows of this boy from their one brief meeting. his name is aaron. tall. shaggy bed-head hair. sleepy hazel eyes. she lightly touches the keyboard, entertaining the notion that other people might feel as lonely at night as she does.
"tell me a secret," she types to him.
"why should I put my trust in you?" he asks, surprised.
"who better to trust than a stranger?"
so he does.
a five minute secret turns into an hour long story, then a night-long conversation.
the next morning, after telling this boy how colin broke her, she wakes to a message in her inbox:
The world is yours.
Boys are stupid.
fog.have you ever driven through
a fog so thick that you can part it
with your fingers? a fog so dense
that you stick your hand through
the car window and watch it disappear?
these special fogs press
heavy on your eyes and ears,
fill the dips of your collarbone,
quiet the murmurs living
inside your throat.
before i drove through this mountain
and through this fog there were bills
to pay and children to teach, people
i hated and people i loved. there were mental
disorders and electrocardiograms. fears.
now there is only the positioning
of my hands. a steering wheel. a whisper
in my ear that says "drive carefully."
a cliff and a guardrail.
now there is fog.
and maybe, if i wish hard enough,
the fog will keep me.
i am not afraid of dying.
i am just afraid.
the soccer game.the thing is, i need
the deer to mean something.
i go to the soccer game and smile
and nod while something furious
inside of me is screaming.
a deer appears while the sun
is setting and it's like a scene
from a movie: green grass and gold rays
that spread out, tingeing our feet
with one last bit of wednesday.
everyone watches the deer and makes
noises of appreciation and i look
around and i think to myself
"okay, this is it, i am happy."
the deer is watching me and i try
to decide if it's a metaphor.
i want the deer to be death, see,
to represent fucking or blacking
out or apathy or loneliness.
someone does something heroic
with a soccer ball and i watch
my hands clap together over and over.
okay, or maybe the deer is supposed
to be happy. maybe the deer
represents attending social
events and sitting with people.
maybe the deer means that
i'm ready to let go.
the girl beside me looks over
and asks if i've written any poems
lately. (that's all she knows of me,
that i write poems and
march 24th, 2008.there is a chinese proverb that says your teeth will fall out if you tell lies.
i used to always dream my teeth would crumble from my mouth and lay glittering on the street like coins. i used to dream that the slightest touch jarred them loose, knocked them from my jaw leaving only swells of broken tissue behind. i used to dream of rivulets of blood streaming from the corners of my mouth, of thirty two pieces of myself lying naked on the ground, thirty two tooth fairies that would never come. i used to dream of screaming.
"you know," said my psychology TA, "to dream of losing one's teeth is very common. it typically means that you're concerned about your physical appearance. it's a dream that is prevalent among many young women."
i used to dream my mom would try to kill me. i used to dream she'd push me down flights of stairs or hold a gun to my temple or run a razor lovingly along my throat. i used to dream she'd watch me drown and smile, that she would set my room on fire, would lock
throwing rocks.so i want to grow up and get a job and make happy, make money, make forget. i can't though, i'm too concerned with windchimes. i mean, fuck windchimes, right? i lie awake at night and listen to rigs on the rumble strip and the windchimes, (mostly the trucks), but damn, the tinkling is enough to keep me awake all night. but sometimes not, and then i dream i drown or maybe i marry a serial killer who props up corpses in rocking chairs or sometimes i dream about my ex-boyfriend's little sister because why not. then i wake up and it's taxes and credit cards and grades and people dying and shit.
i don't know what is wrong with me.
i mean i do, though, it's called obsessive compulsive disorder and major depressive disorder and severe anxiety and a bunch of other shit that takes too long to detail, but i'm talking about the pieces insurance won't cover.
also fuck claire danes.
it's just like, when i close the door behind me i push on the doorknob six times plus seven plus seve
waiting.he has been there for so long that the girl sometimes wonders if he is part of the beach, if the seaweed and shells fuse themselves to his ankles at night and grow over his browned legs like ivy. he is always still, so still, eyes focused on something distant in the waves that the girl can't quite see, though she tries. the man has a face like a creased paper bag and she finds herself wishing that she could see inside his head.
she watches him all day from the corner of her eye but no one ever joins him in his vigil. he is alone in casting shadows that grow longer and longer as the sun sets. the girl wonders what it is like to be so alone and decides she'd rather be lonely on the beach than spend all her time with people, particularly the people she knows who seem to be full of incessant questions and sharp elbows.
the man is waiting, and so instinctively she waits too.
the girl is the only one to see him cut his palm wide open on a shell. she watches the red droplets fall heavily on
encephalitis.she asks, "is it weird to have one day where you really intensely, for no good reason, think of a dead person?"
the intercom was the one to announce that his body had finally given up. i don't remember what i was wearing that day, or how my hair looked, or what noises fell out of my mouth. death has dulled the sharp edges within me. this is what i do know: some people burst into tears and some people sat frozen and pale and some people simply got up and left the room.
"are you okay?" someone asked me, and i found that i was lying on the floor, though i couldn't understand how i'd gotten there. the overhead lights were buzzing and humming, or maybe it was just my heart. confused, i sat up quickly and let the blood rush to my head in one glorious fell swoop.
"are you okay?" they asked again, and i said yes, yes, i am okay. i am alive. i have to be okay. the linoleum is still cold against my cheek and i can still see i am alive i am okay i am okay i am okay.
but sometimes i wish i had t
you can't make them love you.He is beautiful, new, unexplored. He has wanted to kiss her ever since they met one week ago and fell prey to helpless chemistry.
Dont, she says, moving her hands in a subconscious yes pattern along his arm as he rubs his cheek against hers. You dont even know my favourite colour. The wind cuts through her thin jacket, and his chest is so warm.
Red, he guesses, improbably correct. His ears are cold.
And how many dogs do I have?
Two, he says, and she laughs wildly at his luck as he nuzzles her neck.
Im trying to save you, she tells him, pushing fruitlessly against his broad shoulders. So you dont wa
the look to letting you goi hope i ruined
like a smudge
i like reminding you
of the things
i am sure you proudly
ache my heart,
when i try
bookmarked my skin
where you last
so that i may
open the pages
and read us
when i feel a little
all i want is to look across
a span of space-
a floor, a bed,
the breath between
and see another
holding me like light
within warm eyes.
it is likely
we will not make it
through the night;
in this case,
i hope that,
with my last,
i learn to love
being in love.it's like when you were five, when your pet rabbit died
and you learned that nothing good lasts.
it's like the time you dropped him off at his house to watch tv
before you drove yourself to the emergency room, sobbing.
it's like the first time you saw your kindergarten teacher cry.
it's like ring around the rosie, a pocket full of posies, ashes. ashes.
it's like when he went too far, and he said, "is this okay?"
and you said, "no," but it didn't matter.
it's like when he said, "but i want you."
it's like the number seven, or rubies.
it's like when you almost drowned in the pool in north carolina
and when you looked up through the broken surface you thought
you saw god's face in the clouds.
it's like when he told you, "it's okay, it's going to be okay," and it wasn't.
it's like when you found out monsters weren't real
but every night you still woke up screaming.
this is less of a love poem and more of athere is something to be said
about resisting the temptation
to start out with a bang.
the hallway of your neck
has never lost its scent
and it's something, i swear,
i swear, i can never forget
because it's something surreal
to wake up while you're asleep
and feel you pull me closer
til our faces almost meet-
hold onto that almost,
hold onto it like stardust.
you need to touch me in a whisper
because it's been too long
since i've felt the hand of someone
who actually meant it,
someone who actually meant something
and i'm so glad, my god,
i'm on my knees
i am praying to(o,) my god
that we won't burn out so quick this time,
i'm too tired to bear new scars
i just want you to love me
but that's not something i could ever ask.
just some time maybe,
i know that no august moon can watch us forever
and keep us warm,
and no constellation can teach me everything
i've ever needed to know.
but everything ugly i ever saw about you
and everything unflattering?
it's gone like the magic we
Thank You, Slater.I used to go to the nearby campus coffee shop in the early evenings, armed with a pen, a blank notebook, and writer's block. The sense of loneliness was unspoken but well accounted for.
I always shared coffee-counterspace with the same boy, who never smiled or talked and who had a penchant for bedhead and argyle sweaters. He liked to lean back on his stool, balancing precariously as he read novels, and I liked to pretend I wasn't watching him watch me. We coexisted in quiet companionship, thrived quietly under fluorescent lighting which sometimes caught his thick-framed glasses.
His novels changed while my notebook remained the same; his dogeared copies of The Sound and the Fury and Animal Farm distracted me as I doodled stars on blank pages, waiting for something that could not be explained.
It was raining. I remember that. His glasses fogged up when he walked in, his tousled black hair dripped water on my elbow.
"Why don't you ever write in your notebook?" he asked, turning to me w
no one warned the little girlssometimes you will fall in love with the hands
or with the jawline, not with the penis.
watch out for boys whose eyes
are rougher than their voices.
little girls love hard and fast, and it is a lie
to say that words will never hurt you.
kissing in the rain is not romantic.
it's cold and wet, and your nipples
will be like pebbles digging into his skin.
he'll wipe water from your lashes,
and, if he is polite, he'll pretend
not to notice his thumb blackened by mascara.
later as he sleeps you will watch his lips,
unable to feel anything except your hair
curled damply against your skin.
when you were young, sex was strange
and scary and unreasonable.
when you grow older, that doesn't change at all.
please, do not use the flavored condoms.
getting married tastes like a wedding
invitation, heavy cardstock and eggplant ink.
if you cut your tongue and bleed
all over the calligraphy, it's bad luck.
when you speak your vows and look in his eyes,
you will still feel the blood
in your mouth, warm a
NPR three minute story submissionShe closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door. That low rumble had been Tom's temperamental engine; she was sure of it. The sound had tattooed itself on the inside of Anna's ears ages ago. Maybe he was sitting in the front seat of his car, trying to work up the courage to knock. Maybe his brows would knit together and his mouth would quirk and he would say, "I missed you, Sunshine," though he had never once called her by that nickname. Maybe she could apologize, and he would kiss the insides of her wrists, the back of her neck, her eyelids.
Yes, she could hear a car door opening. If she listened hard she thought she could even make out the rustle of his corduroy jacket.
Go outside, said her heart.
Wait, said her brain.
She began to count aloud. "One, two, three, four"
Anna was eight when her baby brother was born. He was little more than a fragile bag of bones and organs, an accident waiting to break her heart. Every night she'd snea
split me open like a sunrisei promise
i don't think about you anymore
not even a little
like a mouse;
but the moment
i fall like the autumn,
the one we spent
at the in-between-
a crossing of streets,
seeing my own hands
for the first time.
i stumble with numbness
and a definite lack
of control(led motor skills)
as i fight for an instant
where i feel it is safe
or to let my heart beat.
i hate to see your eyes.
they are too warm
and i know that if i were
to reach and touch your skin,
it would be, too.
what did i do before i watched you,
a figure eight
winding in the periphery?
what did i do before i loved you,
waking up beside your body
is feeling a sip of tea
become a flower
and blossom within my chest;
i don't think about you anymore
not even a little
like a mouse;
but the moment
i fall like the autumn,
the one we spent
at the in-between-
a crossing of streets,
what did i do before i met you?
wasting usi want you, ok
i want you to be on your knees
all scraped and red and raw
like you're a child again
because that's all you ever
i want you to be aching
the way i've been aching
since the last rays of summer
said goodbye to us,
goodbye to us
and i want you to never forget
that just because
you don't remember my birthday,
that doesn't mean
forget the feel of my skin
for the first time
and that someday
this memory will stop hurting.
it never will,
and i promise you this:
every time it crosses your mind-
while you wait at the bus stop,
during a chemistry exam,
the next time a girl touches you
with her heart and not just her fingers-
every time it crosses your mind,
you're going to remember me
in extraordinary detail
and see me
like the extraordinary person
that i am,
this isn't progress, because you're irreversible.You were never meant for me.
I knew it in the most obvious manner. It was in the way you had a subtle sort of comfort in your own skin a quiet and humble confidence while I struggled to make sense of the prints on my fingertips and the way one of my eyes crinkled in the corner more than the other when I smiled. You felt safe with yourself while I was always warring with my own reflection. Half the time, I didn't know who I was. A quarter of the time, I still don't. You would call this progress if you were here to see, but I just call it sad.
When you miss something for long enough, you start to forget the exact way that things happened. Or the exact way they happened to fall apart. For instance, I don't remember the first time you didn't call, but I do remember when you told me you loved me but not enough. It's never enough, is it? The point is you were gone before I could even say goodbye. You were gone before you were ever really here, but somehow I let myself bu
the mat that clung to my backmy story was that
love knew me,
& i knew love;
that we embraced,
our limbs interwoven
like the fabric
of the universe.
it has been two weeks,
& i have two freckles
like tooth marks
right where you left
that last time
i saw you,
the last time
i thought maybe
you could love me
as i am.
the sadness of how
mistaken i was
fills me up now
& blossoms like a flower,
hot tea like twigs & branches
within my bones.
my story has changed thus:
more than the number of wishes
made on the stars tonight,
that one day,
you can be in a relationship
instead of my sickness;
that one day,
i will not strain your bones
with the stress of my
world on top of yours.
i hope that you miss me
a little how i miss you;
but above all,
like the heavens & celestial bodies
of the midnight above us,
i hope that you find
happiness in your heart,
even if it is not
a letter to ethanyou're fifteen minutes away.
that's a quarter of an hour, that's ten miles, that's space enough that i never have to see you again.
but still i feel my heart beating like a rabbit's foot against my rib.
i'm a girl still in denial
of being a woman with
breasts and hips and a womb.
i'm a child with my heart and i will surrender it foolishly
to the first boy to give me roses and push them into my hair.
i don't know how to love,
the way i don't know how how to stop.
but let me tell you this- it happens.
they both do.
i loved your fragile brown eyes like i'd never seen a warmer fire.
i sank my bones like an anchor to your earthly vessel and called it home.
i staggered home drunk every weekend we were together
by word only.
and i felt myself falling apart when i sighed
with sleepy repetition as we exhausted the same jokes as ever,
just a million miles different.
my mind drifted but i loved you.
the feathered finches in my chest were beat
you disguise your lies as PROmises, well, CONmiseslet's make a deal:
i will promise to stop writing love poems about you
if you promise to stop disturbing me in my dreams.
do we have a deal?
no? oh well, you'd
The Yellowiest DecemberShe was atheist and
he was a painter who
believed in everything
and the world, the glories
it held, endless fountains of
knowledge to be obtained.
"It's an amazing situation,"
he mused, running his hands
through her red hair.
She believed in asbestos,
that it was her favorite
color and he believed that she
needed more things to believe in.
He ate cranberry sauce while she
read him poetry about cats and disciples
and classical compositions and the
relevance in it all. It
was all he could do to say, "Wow,"
staring at the sky, effusion of clouds
draining, pouring out before dispersing.
Her blue flower dress smelt of
chamomile and tulips and she wore a
yellow chrysanthemum in her hair, his
head rested in her lap, her breathing
Flash cards and timer reminders on
PDA's kept him remembering every
little nuance. "This cupcake is in
celebration of the fifth time
I kissed you and made you blush."
She blushed again before becoming
flustered. A mental note, Twenty-fifth
if my body could talkit's probably not a good thing
when what you want to say
to your ex boyfriend
is the same
as what your body
wants to say to you:
i don't know why
i still insist on you
when you want
nothing to do with
you don't care for me
the way you did
i wish everyday
you are ruining me;
i don't know how to
deal with what you're
putting me through;
why can't you love me;
everything you do
and i know it shouldn't
but everything that matters
shouldn't, i guess.
what i think i mean
is i need you
to give me my soul back-
i am killing this flesh
schadenfreudei found love
in your bone structure,
with your soul worn across your lips.
you remind me of the sunshine
i lost in the circles
i left behind
to find someone an ocean
i am here,
watching the birds take flight
from the edges of your mouth,
watching their wings curl
with every word
strained with an accent
owned by my ancestors
born on ships.
i want you to tell me again
about the times
you found a purity in his eyes,
the blank skin upon which
they were set like jewels
and those when
you grinned cheekily
when i told you how
you really were.
i find myself wishing,
which brings paperweights
to my ankles as i
swim the seas,
that the water in which
i am sinking
would part for the benefit
of my heart;
that your contagion
would not touch me;