She is new.

You skin always holds a soft dew, lover, floating next to red dwarf stars, with the lights turned off to save your eyes. I still feel your cheek against the bridge of my nose as I burrow, underground catacombs turn into coffins turned into light fragment fictional. I can’t breathe under your water/works like a guillotine, slice through my voicebox, you’re still alive for five seconds afterward. Stop calling my name. I still believe that funny and sad aren’t star-crossed lovers, they are brothers. I ask other girls if they are you when I know they are asleep, never get the wrong answer that way. It reminds me of Ohio skylines, lover, and Texas sunsets, and Missouri planes, when your sweat soaks my bedsheets and my Chicago capillaries are intergalactic highways, we broke light and sound with our smiles in bed each morning. I am the sand between your toes, you are the sea salt in my lungs, I am the burn on your back, you are the sweet air of each summer. Keep calm in the storm on your way back to me.

A study of my mom and my hair.

I. my mom bought me a dress

polka dot top with striped skirt and suspenders

i cut my own hair to match my care bear

dad said girls have long hair

i still feel the brush ripping my scalp

i hate those knots

II. my mom bought me a purple plaid skirt

bondage pants, mesh sleeves

i begged

good student

she bought my black hair dye

took me to get my first short cut

my dad said girls have long hair

i still smirk at how frizzy it got

III. my mom told me to wait until after my graduation party

to cut off all my hair

long ringlets for the pictures

my smirk painted crimson, period blood red

in the next photos i have shaved sides

eyes surrounded by black rings

i am not smirking, real smile

i cut the rest off myself after a gay white man with scissors told me too short wouldn’t be cute

it’s not my job to be a cute haircut

my dad didn’t notice for three days

told me girls have long hair

i went to college and came out genderqueer

IV. my mom has had a bob since i was a small child

did my dad tell her girls have long hair?

V. when i used to cry a lot, getting my hair brushed

my mom would sigh and whisper,

“don’t tell your dad”

before she would cut out the knots

sparing me all the unnecessary pain

i love my mother

VI. my mother still hates my short hair

Q.

I wrote a poem ’bout you once, didn’t mention your skin so you didn’t read it, what makes this different, what makes this the time the admissions aren’t just warm exhales on the Chicago winter sidewalk where you see your vapor fears materialize, teeth chattering breaking the silence in between our thighs, I wanted to know I could love without walls but I forgot the chains came too, accessorize our armspan lovesong. I knew you 4% of my life so far, we calculated, now you analyze what anecdotes you can pull out like whispers in braille. The third thing she ever told me was I am a knee-knocker, you had trouble unlocking yours to jump, stiff//straight with joints fused red hot reminders of my blowtorch call outs. I am a knockout, fight for life like we’re holding on by the tips when really we’re being buried. She is beautiful and we are everything, so keep moving back to the dark doorway you entered through.

6/1/13

I dream of tears and live in night sweats, the liquid of you wants out of my body preemptively like personal ads seeking funeral plots. I can’t shake the nightmare feeling of our anger so don’t tell your mother I could break your heart, tell her you are a flower and I water you with my tongue to open you up and every line sounds like innuendo but it is and isn’t. You are the one that got away before you got here. People write love poems about you.