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

5 Stages of Grief

1 – Denial
I rush to your room,
a small iced tea from Dunkin’ in my hand,
lemon 2 sugars

I see your face and the world is still,
the screams in my head the
only thing I could hear

“She’s gone”
and whispered “sorry”s from
nurses who don’t even look at us
“The social worker should be here soon,
she died 5 minutes ago
we’re still filling out the
paperwork”

You lie in
that bed in
a room
overlooking
the water and
it almost feels like a vacation,
though your face shows
no color

You lie there and
my tears are falling
like each of my eyes
a broken faucet,
filling the sink of
This Can’t Be Happening
until we reach the point of
This Is Not Happening

This can’t be happening

We go home and
the air around me is
imperfectly still,
completing the scene I created in my head.
You’re coming home soon
I’m going to see you again
Repeat
Repeat

I search for your voice
every time my phone rings,
I won’t eat pickles
except on cheeseburgers
because I’m waiting for you
to share them with

I walk into your house and I can almost see you

Sitting

Asking me what I want for dinner
and why I haven’t done anything with
those papers on the table
Almost

2 – Anger

Why did you leave me
You didn’t have to leave me
Not yet
It wasn’t supposed to happen yet
You didn’t even tell me
I need another day
just 5 fucking minutes and
I could’ve seen you.
Am I not even important to you?
Do I not matter?
How can you leave me here like this?

3 – Bargaining

Maybe I could’ve given you another day.
Maybe if I missed that concert the night before,
maybe if I sat by you all night and
didn’t let go of your hand
maybe you would still be here
maybe I could’ve helped your lungs
to keep breathing,
your heart to keep beating
I should’ve been there to save you

I’m sorry

4 – Depression

I know this is my fault

But I don’t know how to live like this
I don’t want to live like this

My heart is empty and
there’s no one to fill this space and
I don’t want anyone to fill this space
it’s not theirs
it’s not even mine
it’s yours

I see you in everything and
how can I get out of bed
knowing you won’t be there to
catch me when
I start crumbling

I am crumbling

I can’t stop crumbling

I don’t even want to live anymore

5 – Acceptance

One year later,

my heart still feels empty sometimes,

maybe most of the time,

but other times…

Other times,
I know I have enough of you to
fill the empty spaces to the ceilings with
photo albums and
home videos and
everything I learned from the
greatest teacher out there
(but nothing involving math homework
because that was never your specialty).

I don’t know where you are or
what you’re doing and
I could spend years trying to
figure out if there is a heaven,

but right now…

right now,
I am trying to fill that
emptiness in my chest with

everything you would be proud of.

Broken Home

When I was four, my mom asked me if she should divorce my father.

She looked at me through
tears in her eyes,
relocating
her right shoulder.
The wall she was
pushed into moments before
broke under the pressure of her
fragile bones and
she was barely standing.
I searched for her
happiness in
the ashes that used to be a
loving father and caring husband,
but the wind blew them away and
there was
nothing
left.

When I was four, my mom asked me if it would be okay to divorce my father.

She did not want her
children to be
from
a broken home,
so instead
me and my brothers lived
inside
a broken home,
broken walls,
broken bones.
But at least
the windows remained
intact.
At least the screams remained
behind doors,
behind smiles,
behind pretending.

When I was four, I got really good at pretending.

Whenever I started to speak,
I remembered that the
perfect strokes of this
painting would become
messy
if the words fell from my tongue.
I swallowed them like
poison
and they devoured
my wellbeing
creating scars to be
explained away by
pretending.
I got really good at
pretending.
My mom taught me well.

When I was four, my mom asked me if she should divorce my father.

When I was four, my mom didn’t listen when I said yes.

Generation Gap

They look down at me spitting words like
lazy,
dependent,
internet-crazed,
I wasn’t like that when I was a kid,
adding to
boulders already on my
shoulders.
This is
not
my
fault.

I am from the generation of hand shaking nausea and beds that haven’t seen sleep in years.

The generation of counting a piece of gum as a meal and
ripping open our wrists in hopes of feeling
better or feeling
something or
nothing or
maybe we’re just really good at
destroying ourselves.

The generation of quiet
tears at 3AM, holding our breath and
sinking our teeth into our blankets
terrified of waking our alcoholic father or abused mother.

The generation of helpless children
clawing at locked doors. We didn’t ask to be put in this
goddamn room and half of us are
stuck wishing our parents had a better understanding of
birth control. Maybe then everyone’s
lives would be easier.

The generation so painfully aware of the
mistakes of our ancestors, this mess
hanging above our heads like the
chandeliers we only see in movies.

The generation of struggling to remain breathing.

Of brightly colored hair and
stretched earlobes and
“how do you expect to get a job looking like that?”

Of falling short of expectations,
but when we were playing with dirt and rocks in the backyard,
we never would have expected to grow into
this.

The generation of desire.
Of wanting.
Needing.
More than what we have in front of us. Maybe that makes us
greedy but we are
not satisfied jumping from therapist to therapist,
staring at bookshelves of journals at midnight when
no one is willing to listen.

The generation of loneliness.

I am from the generation of trying.

We are trying.

I am trying.

A Loose Definition of Okay

Tears stream down my face and you look
at me like you’re watching a lion that
escaped from the zoo, waiting for me to
attack. I’m not attacking, but you back
away slowly as I fall to the floor.
“Don’t worry,”
I say forcing a smile to appear on my face.
“I’m okay.”
But you roll your eyes, shake your head, and take another step back.
The tears won’t stop and you keep walking
backwards, step after step. I’m sorry.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
I’m sorry you’re here to see this.
I’m sorry I can’t hide this.
I’m sorry I want to run away and never come back.
I’m sorry I thought I could make it through a train ride without crying.
I’m sorry I didn’t stay home by myself.
I’m sorry I ruin everything.
I’m sorry I’m ruining us.
I’m sorry I’m still here.
I’m sorry I’m still
alive.

You’re a million miles away now and I’m still stuck.
Sinking.
Into the ground where I’ve been standing.
Sinking.
I’m not stopping.
Sinking.
Drowning.
My head beneath the water.
Barely breathing.
Losing.
Losing myself in the knots tangling my thoughts.
Losing the smile I used to fake to keep them from questioning, to keep myself from crying.
Losing you.
Losing
me.
Suffocating.

I’ve reached the bottom of the ocean, but I can
still see you getting better.
I want you to get better.
I need you to get better.
Please get better.
Please don’t forget about me.
Because, truth is, I’m not okay.
I’m not okay. I’m not okay. I’m not okay.
I’m not fucking okay.
I just took my first step out of the house I built when I was 5 called
denial. Now I can see the
cuts on my hips that keep getting deeper.
I can see the weight I’ve lost since the last time I ate a real meal.
I can see.
Everything.
I’m not fucking okay.
I need help.
I need someone.
I need someone to stay.
I need
you.

Please come back.

Please Don’t Forget

Words roll off your tongue,
through your fingertips,
and onto a computer screen
before I can drag them into a
dark alley
and beat the crap out of them.
I can’t seem to touch the
thoughts that have a
grip on your mind.
I want to steal them from you and
bury them in the middle of
a forest on the other
side of the universe.
It’s been so long since you’ve
cracked a smile or
whispered “I love you”
under your breath in
front of a mirror.
With too many “I need space”s
as a response to your string of
“I need you”s,
you’re convinced that you are
not worth the
weight of your statements.

Your eyes rush to every
stretch mark and scar as your
mind rips itself inside out
without realizing that all the
flaws you see prove that
you have survived
wars with demons.
You beat them before anyone even
caught a glimpse of your battle.
No wonder they don’t
understand the wounds that
appeared on your skin and
in the depths of your brain,
they didn’t even realize
you were fighting.

You have yet to realize that
without every bruise,
crease, and
imprint,
you would not be alive.
If you were really as light and
easy to carry as your
kindergarten book bag, you’d be a
ghost and hauntings give me chills that
no blanket or jacket can cure.
I want you.
I want you as a person,
as a human.
I want to be able to touch and
feel and
listen to the crack in your voice and
teach you about everything you
ignore about yourself
until you figure out that
there is more to
love.

Haiku #13

You are poetry,
words too beautiful to write,
not spoken but felt.