Dark Nights (Huge TW: suicide mention, self-harm mention, etc.)

Sometimes at night I
wrap a sheet
tight around my neck
watch my lips fade to blue

Sometimes at night I
write FAILURE on my thighs
in red sharpie BIG & BOLD
rewriting it over and over
until my fingers cramp
and then I write it again

Sometimes at night I
etch love letters
into my forearms
in a language only I understand
those tally marks
mean so much more
than you can see

Sometimes at night I
count pills instead of sheep
as if that would put me to sleep
as if I would actually take them
as if I actually wanted to die
as if I even had that choice

Sometimes I do these things
I’m not supposed to talk about
silent cries for help
behind a door
locked and barricaded

I have all these behaviors
these thoughts
these tendencies
that make them want to ship me
to the nearest psych unit
before I can open my mouth
before listening to my words

I have all these ideations
these images
of my own death
something clean without much mess
somewhere no one has to find me
some way I can disappear

Sometimes
people find out
because I was never
any good at hiding

Sometimes
people think I’m crazy

Sometimes
this crazy is all I have

Sometimes
I forget what’s real

Sometimes
people don’t understand

Sometimes
everything I do becomes a symptom
everything I say becomes a symptom
all my opinions become symptoms

I
become a symptom

Because I
don’t even know what’s real

Sometimes
at night I
practice my own suicide
draft notes to my mom
trying to explain it’s not her fault
always having trouble finding the words

And when I
run out of paper
or out of ink
or thoughts
or words

when my eyelids get too heavy
and my vision gets too blurry

I loosen the sheet from my neck
I wash off the words
I bandage the wounds
I put the pills away

Sometimes
at night I
do what I can to get through the night

Sometimes
my survival comes so very close to dying

Sometimes
I question if I’ll even get to morning

But
I always do

I always survive
and I’m thinking

someday
my survival might look
a little less like dying

Someday
my sheets will stay on my bed

dear heart

dear heart,
with every shaky beat,
you strive to live
when every other part of my body
tells you to stop,
you keep going
determined

dear heart,
you love so hard and so deep
and at time i hate you for it
but you love still
without condition

dear heart,
the scars on my wrists are nothing
compared to what i put you through

dear heart,
i’m not really sure how you do it
you are so damaged yet so strong
so broken yet so resilient

dear heart,
i’m so sorry

Skeleton Keys

I locked my heart in a steel box the first time it crashed into my ribcage backed by my anxiety, leaving bruises that will never go away

I wrapped it in chains when my best friend announced that I was sleeping with all the guys in my 3rd grade class when I didn't even know what sex was, leaving me alone at the lunch table with my tear soaked lunch box and my poetry as my only company

I buried it in darkest parts of my soul when my 5th grade dance ended with a limo full of everyone but me, parked outside my house, music so loud that sleep wasn't even an option

I pushed it down deeper and deeper until I only felt its beat when it was repeating words on max volume

Worthless. Failure. Lost. Sick. Crazy. Dramatic. Mistake. Burden.

I threw away all the keys when I ended my first relationship and tried to go home but he followed me around every corner to explain how psycho he thought I was. I'm still afraid to be anywhere near his house

With my heart locked up tight, I learned that keeping my head up and shoulders back was enough to show everyone how together I really wish I could be

I learned that people will ignore my cries if I smile for just a second, ignore the cuts traveling up my arms if I lie and say I fell

I became content with living behind walls so tall that no one could climb over

But you –

You come and listen to the words I can't get myself to say and understand the thoughts that run backward in my head. You ask about my heart and my world freezes for my heart remained in that steel box for far too long and I don't know how to explain this to you

You want to know, you want to understand and for the first time I think that maybe I could tell you, but I don't even know where to begin

it's going to take me a while to find all the keys and before I let you unlock this box, I need to know I can handle its contents on my own

I want to know my softest, most fragile parts before anyone else can touch them

I need to get to know myself again

without the boxes, the locks, the chains, or the walls

before anyone else can see everything I've been hiding for so many years

Narnia

Our love was a fire on a cold day, much needed warmth I couldn't get enough of, leaving burns on my hands every time I got close

Our love was a thunderstorm after a drought, quenching thirsts I didn't know I had, pouring until water filled the only home I ever knew, stealing memories from from me like pickpockets on the subway

Our love was a hurricane, pulling trees from their roots, my mind blown away settling on clouds looking down at the mess below me, pretending the clouds could hold me forever.

Our love was my secret magical place, so beautiful I never wanted to leave, but hidden away in a wardrobe so small I needed to shrink myself down to fit through the door

I kept coming back to breathe in our love like smoke from the cigarettes of strangers

until one day the wardrobe disappeared, the winds slowed, the sky cleared, and I – I was handed a fire extinguisher and burn cream

I started to clean the mess we made, rebuilding my home and rediscovering pieces of myself that I forgot existed since they were too big to fit into our love

Our love was a book you closed before I could finish

I finally stopped rewriting our love in every notebook I could find

I stopped rewatching every scene of our love on an endless loop

I stopped looking for our love in every storm cloud

and the next time I returned to that empty room that once housed that small portal to our love, I found a door I never saw before

A door big enough for everything I have inside of me and now I'm thinking that maybe I never even needed to shrink

Keep Pretending

You have never laid a finger on me
but your grip holds
tight around my neck
and I have been gasping for air
since you first showed me
your temper erupting from
your palms landing on the
one you promised to care for

You proved to be a
volcano spreading your lava over
birthday parties and graduations

A tsunami ruining beach days and
washing away sand castles and smiles

You have never laid a finger on me,
but your grip left
bruises on my young mind
and you spent twenty-two years
pretending they weren't there

You are everything
I don't want in
a partner,
a friend,
or myself
and I will scrub your essence
out of my soul, mind, and body
until the only thing
linking us is our
last name

Blistered Hands

my blistered hands
have forgotten what it felt like to
reach for something that isn't
running in the opposite direction

forgive me if i doubt your love
for i have never held something
that didn't slip through my fingers
whenever i looked away

every time i wake with
a kiss on my cheek and
my heart safely in your hands

you are giving me
a break from
reaching because
you are
always
right here