raise your hand

i would have different landmarks

to trace our path

to hell,

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.

say yes.

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