Some people are going to treat you like a snow globe
and keep you on a shelf
and take you down only to shake you up
and watch what falls.
So break your glass
and let yourself pour out
and choose not to be so fragile.
Tip over the aquarium they keep you in
and seep into the ground
and grow flowers.
Evaporate into the clouds—
you’ll see more than a plastic house
where the snow is just paint
and the white-coated trees don’t grow or breathe—
let yourself fall in drops
and know you’ll be lifted up again.
One Size Fits Most
We stood shielded by trumpet vines
with orange blossoms
facing the sunset behind the pine trees
of my childhood home—
and no scenery could be more romantic.
But you pull me in
and I pull away
and think of him
and realize I only know my love
by your love.
And he knows his lack of love
by my love.
So I draw on yours for now
and he draws on mine
and we are a chain of those
A vine of flowers and pulled petals:
he loves me,
he loves me not.
We are not shoes with a perfect match—
we are not made in pairs
We are not looking for our other halves.
We wear each other like bracelets—
one size fits most
and carry each other in the links;
a little tighter doesn’t always cut circulation,
a little looser doesn’t always slip off.
Like the Sun Loves the Earth
I used to be okay with loving like the moon
loves the earth
238,900 miles away
around and around.
And then I felt the thousands of telescopes on me
and I thought I needed to be held all the time,
but when I crashed into someone’s arms
I’ve always left craters and rubble.
I never knew my own size—my own weight.
I never knew the impact I left.
I was a meteor but I wasn’t beautiful—
I carried a tail of sparks and destruction
like tin cans on strings hung from my back bumper
without ever looking back
and I always left the wedding leaving him standing alone.
All the stargazers left me narcissistic
and I thought I made my own light—
but I was just rock borrowing sunlight.
Now I want to love like the sun loves the earth
and lend my warmth and light and ask for nothing back again.
I’m okay with feeling the fireflies flitter inside my belly
knowing you feel nothing at all.
I want to feel the heat in my cheeks
even if yours are cool.
I don’t want to revolve around you though.
I can bear this one-sided love of a planet
but I’ll stand still
—no more chasing.
Maybe to shine like the sun you need to be humbled—
and rejected by earth.
All the eyes can admire the moon
that borrows the silent shimmer of the sun—
but no eyes turn to stare down the actual star
—direct sunlight scars.
When things end sometimes your heart
doesn’t know to stop climbing
and even when your lips stop kissing it lifts up into your throat,
out your mouth and just keeps going—weightless—empty—
and you walk around like a battle-beaten soldier with a ghost limb.
You forget momentarily
and try to use your heart before remembering it’s not there anymore.
You feel pain coming from empty space.
When someone with flecks of green in his eyes
brushes your hand with his hand,
you expect it to beat faster,
but there is no beat beneath your skin.
When things end sometimes your lips don’t know
there’s no one to speak to anymore.
So you try to bite them down—beat them down,
and suck into your mouth like a suction cup.
You want to swallow them whole
because there’s no one left to listen to your I miss you’s or I’m sorry’s.
When things end sometimes your mind slips
and forgets you can’t just call and hear their voice.
You want to tell them they were wrong and stupid
and then you want to tell them
that you saw the first fireflies of the season
driving down a back road belting out Avicii beats because you had no words
but still everything felt magical
and the pancakes you made caught fire on the skillet
and you blew and blew like you had to blow out a million birthday candles
all for just one wish
and you got a new nail polish color—“New Money”—it’s bright green—
you want to tell them that you want them to see it on you
and you want to tell them to look out the window
and ask them if the sky looks just as beautiful where they are
as it does where you are
and you want to tell them you hate them
and you want to tell them you love them
and then you try to feel it
and remember your heart’s way up in space.
And you feel the emptiness
and you feel the gravity that your heart doesn’t.
It just drifts
like a lost astronaut.
So you hope the sun pulls it in—
you hope it catches fire—
that it becomes its own star.
So when you feel your ghost heart—you feel brighter.
You feel weighted—powerful enough to emit your own gravitational pull
and reel it back into you
with hook and fishing wire.
When I used to cry over you,
I’d run my fingers through my hair and catch loose strands—
dragging them down to the ends
and I’d fling the tangles away.
I wonder if my love doesn’t exist anymore
or if it’s just fallen off?
I think if I say it enough:
I don’t love
I don’t love you.
I can fall out of love
like the falling strands of my hair—I
can stick it all onto you
and your jackets and car seats and bed sheets
and carpets and shower drains
I can leave it in wrappings around your tongue
(when we kissed and it got stuck)
and I can leave it in all the places we’ve been.
It’s been falling out,
it’s always been falling out.
And if you still find the threads six months down the clothesline—
If you find my love in the bristles of the brush
in the passenger side compartment of your car,
I don’t want it back.
You can see the length that it was.
Love is never destroyed.
It just falls from the body the length that it cannot hold on anymore
and ceases to grow once separated.
Her heart belongs to the order Ephemeroptera
from the Greek word ephemeros—meaning—“lasting a day.”
She loves like she swallowed the belly
of a mayfly whose own mouth has become obsolete—
it’s filled with air that’s slowly running out.
She has to find love before she
Like cherry petals and autumn leaves
and other falling things—they are beautiful
—but they fall the moment they blossom.
Like fleeting meteors across the sky—
the luminescence of a firefly;
she loves like the toddler years to fathers and mothers:
“It’s the flecks of colors in his eyes.”
She loves like Kim Kardashian—like a 3-minute egg timer:
“it’s the smell of cologne”
before the nose adjusts and then it becomes nothing.
Helios carries her heart across the sky in chariots—
feeling peaks and falls in 24 hours
heightened and lowered
by pulleys and strings and wheels
before the heartbreak of night—the lonely unlit cycle of her heart
and falls again until the colors come,
and the light,
and she loves again.
Monet almost never used
the color black in his paintings
“white lead, cadmium yellow,
But not black.
I wonder what I’d do
without the color black—
I think I’d fear the night less
if I knew I was only shadowed
in darkest shades of cobalt blue.
She is stacked high like a Jenga tower—
full of holes and hands
that take pieces of her past
and bring them to the surface.
One wrong move and she’ll tumble over.
It’s odd because the higher she gets,
the more she can feel the wind
blow through her.
What is so wrong with the female body
that it must be hidden like it does not exist?
What is wrong with breasts? What is wrong with seeing breasts?
Why is a nude photo disgusting? Why do we hate our bodies?
We mark X’s on our flaws, on her flaws, on his flaws.
We mark X’s on her perfections
when we don’t have those perfections ourselves.
Is a body ours?
To pirouette with
or ink on
or run with? Or must it be saved for someone else?
Saved for only one pair of eyes?
Or one pair of eyes at a time?
There are too many rules to think about
when choosing a tank-top in 80° weather—
maybe it’s better just to sweat and be strangled by my neckline
and sleeves and not be called loose (not enough
to wriggle myself free either).
Who moves our lips and blinks away the sun?
Who picks us up and feels our bumps and bruises
and sorts us like fruit?
I know girls who fear invisibility;
they wonder why their fingers disappear
while erasing other girls away.
Houdini girls: who think their outline will stand bolder
if another’s fades away—
making another body irrelevant makes your body irrelevant.
A body is not a schoolboy to be dictated on how to be good.
It just is.
whether a breast is hidden by a T-Shirt—it is there—on all women.
Why can’t our bodies be beautiful?
Beautiful enough to share with anyone we want
or beautiful enough to keep ourselves.
Beautiful enough to be ours.
If emphasis for gaining respect is on how I dress or do not dress—
what I show or do not show,
or to who I choose to show—
it will never be on who I am.
How can we ever be more than a body
when it is sun and moon and stars to show it
and sun and moon and stars to hide it?
At night, we’re just Cheshire cats;
all you can see are the whites of smiles
We fall in the dark, like stars,
we scatter and stumble
our way around,
searching for others.
In the morning we rise up
huddled as one—
enough of us together
to light the world.
If some don’t resurface, we find another
hand to hold
another bulb to link,
to fill the vacant space:
it’s just another star down the rabbit hole.