The problem is there aren’t words to say how I feel about youI had to create a new form of art for it, I call it breathing, I do it daily 

regularly, with a discomforting ease 

you see

I haven’t been this scared in a long time

like those nightmares I have where I stand in the middle of a roof,

and my body always slides to the edge, no matter

how straight I stand so tall so right

angle to the stucco gray rooftop

but the ground sways until I am sideways regardless. 

I slide off the edge. 

And I think every other time I needed it, but

this time instead it’s a wonder

and only for those stories you tell when my ghost is 

sitting on the corner of my four poster frame saying,

“When is it ever always safe?” 

That’s why I promised myself I wasn’t stagnant, stay sliding

tectonic and always thinking ahead. 

That’s why I think it would be

wrong to say

I don’t think of you




don’t say something

don’t say you know 

don’t say you feel it too, I feel it

in all my nail beds and hair follicles

and I got a post-it from God 

I can show you, but it says your name,

underlined, told me you got a good soul put in you

so I know we got miles. 

I feel best lately when you let me know 

you thought of me once today. 

this is familiar, good for both of us,

let’s just keep it between the two,

don’t say so. 

Bath & Bay

I’m writing this like you won’t see it,

like you don’t smell of rhododendrons 

and I am not watching true crime. 

I think I will know you in 

five years 

in such a different way

but I am glad to get where we’re going by taking the long road. 

No shotgun, no punch buggy. 

More mix tapes and late night texts about your exes. 

More cross-country dinner plans and finding out we like the same crystals. 

I think you are the kind of magic 

I’d like to make an altar to. 

I think I’d like to show you

how when I try, those walls

break down

(I was born when the Berlin toppled) 

and sometimes humans are the kind of good good,

like sunrises when you’re not too tired and have a cup of coffee

at the perfect temperature and you’re wearing a sweater. Very scenic. 

What I’m saying is I would care to be kind to you

and I don’t need much more than kind in return,

and we will see where that takes us

on this road. 


You’ve got a lot of trophies in your walls,

I have some paint and am looking to make holes. 

This is so so happy. 

Never burned the letters I wrote cause those words

don’t need to become the atmosphere,

it’s very clear I’m the one who left 

and I thought I’d be more tired of being right. 

Only get tattoos that mean what you think,

only save the screenshots that show she’s been stepping out,

spend your time in an orderly fashion full of promise. That is what I learned. 

When I change a broken bulb, that’s the only time I think of you. 

When I hear about a wasted life, I remember to forget your name. 

When I saw the proof that my stomach is a barometer, that my eyes are seismic graphs, that my tongue is a satellite flung down to the Atlantic Ocean, I can sleep. 

I write notes for myself to find later:

thank you for the space to grow,

thank you for trusting the truth,

thank you for a love so calm and gentle. 

This is so so happy. 

Past Life

(tw: death)


My body was 108 cm off the ground

before I came back here to tell you about it.

The fourth wall is down.

This is my monologue for

high school theater auditions, I’m

dressed like a bard

but my fly is open.

I am still not ashamed.

My mother rushes over to shush me, I

turn to the camera.

Not greedy for it, just

an honest thespian

who started in comedy.

No more arguments in the bomb shelter.

Not a metaphor for now, but for the


I am aware of reality.

Dr. Manhattan.

I think a lot about the moments right before

you know you’re going to die.

You must accept it, right?

You’re caught in it, whether you chose it or not,

and I imagine it’s

the perfect moment, right?

Said without reservation

or socially vocalized contexts of my own depression,

or stigma, or cases, or audience, and no encouragement to be gleaned and pinned

like some false blame for stating my truth,

but it goes well either way:

you either accept it, or you’re about to leave that body, so

the pain will never happen again in

3, 2, 1…

I listen to too many wise men’s voices, televangelists in the 1980s swimming

in the property-value-raising but the gate you have to put up around it to keep it safe

for children, that is my mind,

with the brave men’s voices

and I don’t want to feel better deep down.

Not out of anger or spite, part of me can’t feel content

’cause we’ll lose it again,

I can’t put a metaphor here for my depression or you’ll think this is about you,

so let me just say it: I just don’t want to be depressed anymore.

I am scared to self-soothe out here in Neverneverland.

I worry I can’t do it all, so don’t start. I dread myself. I peeled my body off the walls.

I read so many more books when I wasn’t in love.

I can’t get my eyes to go back to youth, don’t get me my glasses. I just want a light sweater.

Where does the moon go when I travel back to Earth? Will I learn to like outerspace when I leave this body? Did the last star these cells belonged to together have feelings?

Close your notebooks. Under the desk.

Hands over your head, in a crouched position.

Just a drill.

Back to class.

Just a drill.

Just a drill.

cardiac arrest: for August 2016 

When the air hits a certain temperature 

somewhere around 70

(I never check, I don’t want to know)

it feels like those days,

septembers in your bed all day

listening to Bon Iver

and feeling like forever. 

When in my dreams I’m remembering

not to drink any alcohol out of aluminum cans,


for some subconscious and arbitrary reason,

and I turn around, and you are there,

and I turn around, and you are there,

and now you are feeling something I am not,

a septembers’ worth of release

and I am tensely strategizing how to get out

and back to any other dream I’ve had. 

When every line seems so obviously misinterpreted but you can’t put your finger on it, how gauche.

When you stopped using the word “you,”

because I stopped wanting all the things you 

finally wanted to give to me. 

Did you dream about us sitting in a pickup truck last night too? 

August 2015 

You’ve got a bad habit

of riding escalators too high,

too close to

artificial lamplight illuminating 

the bags in your hands,

under your eyes,

on your shoulders,

guilty barbels. 

I took the stairs. 


Joe’s dad knows

the moon is in Capricorn 

or something like that,

his silhouette is flickering against alley lights

as he grins

and takes a drag off a cigarette. 

I appreciate Maggie’s shake of the head,

one two three:

“That’s unfortunate,”


There is a guitar and a piano

and the kind of calm after sangria.

It feels good to laugh like

time stopped a few summers ago. 

2 a.m. on 94-South

Sometimes the shadows of lamp lights

look like roadside bodies, splayed

and every car is a cop car. 

I’m not an alarmist,

but, granted,

I am more alert than most. 

I knew the minute I stopped loving you. 

I have thought of leaving

more than I can count

on fingers and toes. 

But where do I go?

I have done this so many times, I 

am tired tired tired

of the rebuilding. 

In regards to building:

looking back

making this life may have been a mistake. 

I don’t believe in regrets but here you are. 

Never thought I’d 

wear this shirt again,

it’s on her in the last photo we took together,

she bought it that summer

she said

she’d walk into traffic 

if I left. 

Since then I am always the one leaving. 

I wanted you to be new. 

guessing game

I guess I’m done asking myself

the why’s around

why this grew up to be

a house of silence

screaming death rattles

shocked admonishments 

and the occasional 

spilled wine glass. 

If you don’t know by now

that’s part of the reason


All the things I think you think we think

are buried under the couch cushions

with the lost change and 

backs of earrings I told myself

“someday I’ll fish those out,”

“it’s not too late to start again,”

“I can’t undo what we–”

but what?

I would rather have you to hate than not. 

I would rather be the one with the noose in the corner,

next to the ferns and family photos. 

I wonder if I’m just staying until I can say

it’s all your fault,

walk away with Billy The Kid explosions

burning hot into the back of my freshly ironed shirts. 

I don’t leave because I’m not the bad guy. 

I can’t work on being good to you anymore. 

I won’t act like you’re okay. 

I guess I don’t know how to learn to live this lie.