28/30

I read somewhereThat women “receive”

And therefore hold the energy

Of all our lovers.

We always carry them inside us

Unable to shake the power

They deposit.

Of all the lovers I ever had

You were the last one

I would ever want to stay

In my uterus.

The last one I would raise

My glass for.

I never wanted you inside me 

I just wanted you to simply

Be a limb 

A finger

Or a toe

Something I could always see

Who’s importance was subtle

But so important

The detail that kept me balanced 

A bone that made me whole.

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25/30

You watch the happy peopleAnd marvel at how easy

They speak and shout

And wear their faces like

A declaration

You are the jealous one

The tender snag on your voice

The frayed bite

On the inside of your cheek

The blank echo in your throat

You are easily so provoked

To look into places

Where you don’t want to see.

Where there is still lingering smoke

Where you are so quick gathering embers

And trying to build your own

Magic with others’ hard work.

If only you could powder the success

With filthy mortar and pestle

And make a fine paste that would

Enchant the world to watch you fly.

would they then notice the shadow

you cast?

23/30

The 10 year old Buys her first bra

After teachers find her chest

Too distracting 

After kids make her

Regret her new flesh

With daily reminders

That she is changing

Too fast.

Puberty doesn’t happen

Like a metamorphosis

It is a slow awkward process 

That singles out those who bloom too early

Or too late. 

The 12 year old

Looks like a woman

Before she’s had her first period

Before she’s tasted 

Her first kiss

Before 

but she feels the pressure

To hit milestones 

At a sprint.

It makes no difference

To the eyes that have marked her

For sampling 

The girl who is still trying 

To be one

While the world beckons

See this cliff

See this hand

See this bracelet

See this key

You want it

You want it

You want it

You may be young

But you don’t look it

You may be young

But I like it

You may be young

But you are

Young

The 14 year old will learn

To wear her body

Like it was only ever something

To be consumed.

19/30

The day after You try to commit suicide

Feels like the biggest failure 

Of your life

You begin to question

God

In a different way

You begin to believe in 

Hell

You forget cathedrals

Hold congregations

Prisoner.

I always had an exit plan

Both my parents medicate

Orange bottles with long words

Attached

Scripture I couldn’t read

Just packages

So easy to open 

Setting the intention for death

Is easy

Creating a path by pocketing

Pills when I could “just in case”

Because when the wave hits

And pulls you under

You wonder when you have a chance

To come back up for air

Just one more year of depression

You’ll feel better soon

Next year

Next month

Tomorrow 

You’ll feel better

You’re just having a bad day

And then another

And another 

My mother knows 

which gods I pray to

Which cemeteries

I visit 

Tells me to be positive

Friends hold my head

To the light in my room

And tell me the sun is shining 

When food loses taste

When skin loses sensation

When moving aches deep 

Into the mattress 

And the nights become longer

No one commits suicide for attention

It is the last resort 

In a series of empty attempts

For survival 

The only option

In a palace of closed doors

The burden of being 

Someone else’s problem

Prompts pills to swallow themselves

And the next day

When eyes open

The sky is a velvet blanket

You wrap around your head 

Fuzzy

And distant 

And strangely familiar

As if you were seeing it for the last time

And then

Only then

Do you question

Why you are here

2/30

Your vomitAt 3am

Will tell your secrets.

The texture

And color

Will be the palate 

Of your past. 

In the garbage bag by your bed

You’ll heave a plethora of contents

And read the message

Like soggy tea leaves. 

It’s the last time you do this

You say

It’s the last time the room spins 

You into tomorrow.