and I end up spilling underneath
your bed like a bottle of pills that don’t fit
right anywhere else.
Today, for the first time,
I have decided to say no to all the poems.
I have decided to say no to all the mistakes.
I tried to stitch myself up
so I’d be pretty enough
to be loved by you,
and I never thought about what I wanted to become
Well, today I am saying no to your hands.
The way they hold my hips like they belong there.
Didn’t anyone teach you not to pry?
Today, I am turning you into a grocery list
and today, I am forgetting to go to the store.
You don’t like the way I look when I am honest,
so I am going to start telling the truth all the time.
On the way home from this tragedy,
I won’t remember to apologize,
so stop waiting for it.
I know what you thought when I told you
I loved like healing.
You thought it meant all soft lips and silk fingers,
but if you have ever been bruised
then you know all about the purple of strength.
There is nothing soft about it,
and I refuse to be an exception just to make
this easier to look at.
I think it’s supposed to hurt a little.
I think that makes it easier to let it go.”
She is not “my girl.”
She belongs to herself, and to all of the world. And I am blessed, for with all her freedom, she still comes back to me, moment-to-moment, day-by-day, and night-by-night.
How much more blessed can I be?”
here is what you do: Move on quietly. Love yourself
like summer fruit that is too ripe and too ready
to be forgiven.
Tonight, you are the loudest prayer in the room,
and nobody notices.
Maybe by this time tomorrow
your shaking hands will already have all the answers,
but you’ll never know until you finally start trusting them
the right way again.”
I let you flirt with me
because I’m lonely.
I let the dinner party go on
as long as I can and then I pull the tablecloth out from underneath
us until I’m the only
dish that hasn’t fallen to the floor.
I don’t think I have it in me,
the fairy tale you’re talking about.
The one where I call you back
and sound like the princess,
all hopeless and helpless in love.
Most times I’m satisfied
with just being wanted,
because I’m still my own and
you still can’t stand it and God,
it tastes good,
the air on the way back to my place, alone as ever.
Give me a feeling. Any feeling.
I’ll chew it up and spit out
tie the tenderness with my tongue
and hand the cherry stem to you,
all mangled and gorgeous.
I talk so much for someone who
has nothing to say.
Yeah, I’m full of it.
Yeah, I’ve already thought about
fucking you in every single
place we’ve walked by and no,
I’m not gonna do anything about it.
But I will call you at three in the
morning and kiss you
until you’re sure something
else is going to happen,
then I’ll say goodnight, belly full
I’m actually vicious.
A sliver of me is stone and that’s the
only place I let you touch because
it’s the only place that won’t
So, okay, maybe there’s a story here.
Maybe it’s not the one I thought
but at least it’s something.”
doves or a bed of roses.
You know how much I hate roses, anyway.
Have my sister wear that outfit
she never had enough confidence
with those shoes that never
quite match with anything.
Hire a priest to give a sermon
about how he lost his virginity
or about the flat tire he got
on the way to his divorce court date.
Do not stifle your giggles
or feel guilty when you smile
at my uncle who is falling asleep
in the pew.
It’s okay to delight in unconventionality.
After the service,
I want you to hold hands with the person
you love the most and tell them
they need to use more hand lotion.
I want you to text your boyfriend
a poem that describes his
“shit brown eyes”
and how much you adore them.
On the way to the cemetery
blast The Ramones or anything
from Nirvana’s Incesticide album
and scream all the lyrics
When my casket is lowered into the ground,
do not wipe your eyes or your nose.
Let the wind take away your mess.
When they begin to cover me with dirt
and flowers that pricked your fingers
whisper to my family about how you still
haven’t forgiven me for breaking your
favorite coffee mug.
Maybe you will feel uneasy,
or maybe your lips will tremble.
But as you exhale
and fill your lungs with dry air,
listen to me tap against
the wooden walls of my tomb
and let the rhythm guide the beating
of your heart.
It is okay now.
It will always be okay.”
that this skin is your skin, these hands your hands,
these shins, these soapy flanks”
not the way the others did: what if
God was a vulture licking her clean, her words
a machine-hand rigging her legs back
as she sang, her mind a sack of apologies