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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Student Body

She sits between her sentences with troubled eyes and an ache between her elbows. She breathes in deep. Her ribs crack in three places. She places her hands on the folds of her face and whispers to her palms that she's sorry for everything. I sit in her head with a pen and paper and scribble down notes like she's giving lecture about how to behave improperly with a broken heart.


I made a cloth doll from my favorite shirt. I wanted it to be soft and beautiful. I stuffed it with the fluffy organs of my favorite pillow. I wanted to know its heart. I sewed my favorite buttons to its face so its eyes would be happy and familiar. I unraveled an old friendship bracelet to lace its body together. I put the doll in a box and can't bear the sight of it.

Five Lines (Untitled)

She laughs like a secret that nobody knows.
I give her money and she spends it on me.
She lies often and gladly and without hesitation.
Her eight-limbed bed creaks with animal music.
She cries like a secret that everyone knows.


His eyes make me think of pornography. His mouth makes me think of his tongue. His arms make me think of stained wood, and the tight tension of his muscles, creaking and shivering as he holds his weight above my skin. His voice makes me think of admissions, confessions whispered in a deep and rattling bass in my ear wet with his kiss. His hands make me think of my breasts. His neck makes me think of the taste of his sweat like honeyed salt on my curling tongue in the dark room that we will never share. I hate pornography.


I can't write about you. I can only think of you with my lip in my teeth and stare wide-eyed at the world with the terrified awe of an old woman with too many cats who lost all of her cats. I would have kept you with me always. Setting out dry food and water. Holding you close to my chest and telling you my heart like no one could hear me. But as much as I needed you, and your comfort, and your love, you would have ended up getting sick and hiding under the porch to die.


You said you don't believe in souls, and when my deafened ears heard these words I realized how different people can be. I've seen souls. I've kissed them and cooked with them, rested my head on the heart of a soul. I have loved a soul. When the timber of that soul's voice told me the blindness of your eyes, I knew you couldn't see the heart of me.


She can't relate to other people. Slouching in a creaking rocking chair at the top of a plastic slide. Balancing little copper pots of boiling water on her collarbones. Sewing flannel patches into sweaters without holes. Pulling close the dirty clothes from yesterday that smell like sweat and smoke. The secret things she leaves on her bureau aren't secret at all. The memory she clutches is a fleeting moment when setting sunlight filters through a green iris. She can't sleep without the blinds open. She can't relate to other people.

Simple Rhyming

I pluck the berry from the vine
and rinse my heart in turpentine.
I twist my neck to hear it crack
and shake a shiver down my back.

No word could comfort or console
the gray I daily swallow whole,
as from inside, it swallows me
and every color I should see.