i would have different landmarks
to trace our path
a concrete room
with one way out:
embrace the fact that you have cyanide capsules covered in enamel, balanced in your gums like
the teeth you shed when you were a kid,
grew back into daggers, sink into other people’s flesh,
wrap your arms around the throat that told a body it was worth less and choke.
pull those secret things out of a mason jar:
i go through those love letters you called criticism,
i would’ve cared better if i wasn’t so sick like you left me,
i took my aunt’s facial cleanser while she was locked in the psych ward,
I’m not sorry for still being mad at you, raw and real and unpoetic in public,
i want to understand without conversation.
i can’t get back the time i didn’t speak to my father, my sisters worry about what their friends say about my body, my mother worries i am ill for all the wrong reasons.
i will never forgive you for making me an excuse for your rage.
i’m afraid to drown or fall, so sit far from the ledge;
in every dream my body has magnets:
north pole, my ribs,
south pole, twenty floors down.
i am moving closer today, grasping for when i can recall that my whole life would have been worth it for
holding my sister while she cried at a funeral
or putting the baby to bed with a heart full of hope and all that bathwater still warm
or the frantic confessional bar stool where someone or ten told me i saved them so thoroughly i am a fused disk in their spines
or just to be brave, for me, in those private moments in my room, when i was my own hero in a bootstraps and rub-dirt-in-it nation.
relearning to hear my own breathing as a drumbeat.