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

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

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.

M E N T O S

I keep my emotions in bottles on a shelf in my room.
Each of a different volume and size.
Lined up by color in rainbow order.

Not mixing.

Never mixing.

Each bottle screwed tight.
Closed
Organized
Standing still on the shelf
as I try to
forget about their existence.

I turn around for 5 seconds and I am
soaked
with the liquid from every bottle.
Red, orange, green, blue, purple
erupt
and the only evidence a blue wrapper with the letters

M E N T O S

And like diet coke, it didn’t take much for my emotions to splatter on every surface.
Like diet coke, I exploded.
Like diet coke, I lost
control.

You slipped a Mentos into each of
my bottles of emotions,
took a picture and video,
and left the room for
someone else
to clean up.

Raindrops and Oceans

The rain creates streams on my windshield
as tears do the same down my cheeks,
soaking my t-shirt and,
though my vision’s too blurry to
make out the letters and
my fingers too shaky to
press the right buttons,

I find your name on my phone.

I hold my breath long enough to
press that green button and
listen for
your voice.

Too many times
I’ve sat alone
drowning in my own sea of
sadness,
not even attempting to
swim,

but now, I am suddenly
fighting
against the current long enough to
reach for
your hand.

You hold me
and that sea shrinks into a
puddle
for us to jump in
and I know

when the rain starts again,

you’ll be there

to hold my
umbrella.

Fireflies

Fireflies strobe through the streets
attracting seven year olds, convinced
their mothers will let them keep their
new captures, wishing to
replace their nightlights.

Like fireflies,
you appear as night
finds its strength,
your light radiating
and I reach out to
hold it between my
fingers, wishing to
replace my nightlight.

But,

like fireflies,
I cannot keep you in a
mason jar beside my bed.
Instead, I pray for you to
climb in next to me when
the night is much stronger
than I and the wind howls
at the full moon, sending
shivers down my shaken spine
with every slow tick of the clock.

Your light disappears into the
spaces between my fingers and
I long for your touch,

wishing

to see you again tomorrow.