Years from now, when the dust of us has settled
and the waves have calmed to a passive crawl,
I’ll look back and see only the light
reaching through the cracks that broke us:
the music, the winter, the long nights in,
the way my skin fit your skin and your limbs fit my limbs,
your boyish grin after those first few kisses,
those nights we rocked quietly on the patio,
under the moonlight, stripped down from the waist,
the promises you meant to keep but didn’t—
because I need those shards of my heart
to keep sticking into my lungs,
to keep me from falling back and getting lost
in tangled strings of I-love-yous,
all those fitful what-if-what-if-what-ifs.
I’ll miss the way your eyes get stuck on me. The scent of you lingering on my pillow. Lying on your bed at 1 a.m. with the lights off while you improvise melodies on electric guitar strings. How those same fingers improvise melodies on my skin. Driving around town with the music turned up and the windows down. Your hand around the back of my neck. Our tension and intensity. The way our mouths melt together like their meeting was destiny. Those kaleidoscope eyes. The million ways you make me laugh. The way my skin reaches for yours, even when we’re miles, decades, and four new lovers apart. The chase. The chase. The constant chase.
But there’s so much more I won’t miss: The constant chase. The way you’re always one foot in, one foot out. How cocky you get when you know you’re in the wrong. The emotional abuse and manipulation that had me eating out your of your palm. Your bad jokes. Your worse lies. The 3 a.m. booty calls when you failed to find some girl at some party to cheat on me with. That years later you’ll apologize without ever fully admitting to everything you did. The way you put your bad decisions on me. The literal heartache of finding out someone you trust wears a mask. The confusion of loving someone you know you shouldn’t. The heartbreak. The heartbreak. The ever-present heartbreak.
Prompt from @amykaypoetry – What will you miss when you’re gone?
Time slips by, quiet as a cat slinking on soft, padded paw;
mysterious as morning fog, vanishing like a ghost
when the lights flip on;
quick as water, seeping through an open palm.
I’ve spent so much time trying to catch it & hold it
in my hand, tinkering & adjusting like time is as tangible as a wrist watch.
Then one day I woke up & three decades had flashed
before my eyes like death.
But I’m learning that it’s ok to start from scratch—better now than never.
All I can do is let time sweep me up
in its current instead of sitting on the shore, rooted in regret.
Let go, the river says.
And like a burnt leaf in November,
I detach from the comfort of my stagnant limb & fall back onto the water’s
dancing surface, trusting it to carry me forward,
trusting myself to take in every moment.
Driving through this town is like creeping through the halls of a haunted house with my skin tense and my lungs clenched, expecting the ghosts of boys, girls, and versions of me past to jump out at me around every corner. There’s the curb where I said goodbye to my best friend, the parking lot where me and the blue-eyed boy had sex, the high school where I lost a beating chunk of myself because I was too afraid to try my best, the church that failed to control my body but didn’t fail to leave scars, the Starbucks where my friends and I made prank calls to the blue-eyed boy after we graffitied his car. There’s the townhome where I gave him everything but my heart and the playground where his best friend gave me his and I shoved it right back. So far the only ghosts I’ve encountered are the ones I’ve carried with me in my bones ever since the day I left this sprawling, humid, bayoued city—hymen broken, heart intact, head full of stars, starting over, and regret.
Prompt from @amykaypoetry – Write a prose poem.
Your absence is as palpable as a ghost limb,
as a sweep of cold air flooding my skin,
as a ringing in my ears just after a bomb has gone off,
as a soft, fleshy piece of me ripped from behind the rib cage and carelessly misplaced,
as the hollow cries scratching against my vocal chords and stretching my mouth to a cave:
my cat, my cat, my cat!
Prompt from @amykaypoetry – Give absence a physical form.
As the plane finished its ascent, I looked out the window, wondering what it would be like to jump from 10,000 feet up. What it would be like to imagine the fall and the landing running smoothly. What it would feel like to be light instead of heavy, alive instead of numb. What it would be like to sleep through the night without the teeth of anxiety gnawing at my lungs. What it would be like to look a stranger in the eye, smile, and let words unfold. What it would be like to sit behind the wheel, sing in public, make a new friend, snag the dream job. What it would be like to fly. How easy it is to be anything while 10,000 feet up in the air.
Prompt from @amykaypoetry – Write a poem based on your day (dialogue you overhear, a thought you have, or something you encounter today). Shape your observations into a poem.
Why is it always the cold, tiled floor
that cradles my back and collects my tears?
Something about the comfort of yeast
and spices, tomato sauce sputtering on the stove,
Something about the oven’s heat and whirring
turning the kitchen into a womb.
Something about the glow of the bulb above the stove
—an ever present sun,
even after dark.
How many times I’ve found solace in the sifting of flour
in a mixing bowl, the tossing of vegetables in oil,
the simplicity of butter scraped across toast and sprinkled
with cinnamon and sugar, then broiled
until everything hard and bitter turns soft and sweet.
Prompt from @amykaypoetry – Write a poem that takes place in a kitchen
In Defense of Winter
A clipped quiet. A clearing of the slate. A rooting down. An exposure. A chance to bare the heart in its rawest, bleeding form. A cutting off of all life at the source. A replenishing of blood and oxygen. An inhale necessary for breathing life back into the bare, bloodless limbs of all the deflated bodies that have finally let go of all the dead weight they’ve carried. A chance to look forward. A chance to give the soul a shake. A chance to heal, bloom, and grow. To watch mother nature unfold her blush pink lips and kiss the earth awake.
Prompt from @amykaypoetry- In defense of…
I’m sorry, little earthworm—milky pink & flailing in the rain,
washed far away from the damp soil you call home
—that I almost stepped on you with my man made rain boots.
I’m sorry for all the friends you’ve lost under the weight of us
who have invaded the earth, ripped up the dirt, and left you wriggling
& without a home.
It is not the least I can do but all that I can do: carry you—silky & squirming
—in my bare palm
back to the land your ancestors were birthed from
long before mine were conceived.
Prompt – Homage to nature. Happy Earth Day!
Some nights I fall asleep wide-eyed with memory and wrapped in nostalgia.
Most nights I’m gone as soon as my head hits the pillow.
I take my coffee black, eggs white, strawberries quartered and ripe.
I’ve switched to decaf to keep anxiety away.
I am made of sea water, and it shows. I am as unpredictable
as nature. I need someone who can hang loose
and ride the waves. I have love affairs with music.
I can spend an entire commute hitting replay,
listening to the same song for fifty minutes straight
until it’s burned into my memory, lodged into my vocal chords.
My fears and anxieties are debilitating. My heart aches
with a million desires: to jump out of planes; sleep under stars;
travel to France, Croatia, Japan; string words together
like breathing; dance at shows; sing on stage;
drive through city and desert and mountains and all
the hidden treasures you can only get to on four wheels.
I am quiet. I am cat-like. I am a cog by day and a poet by night.
I try to look at the world through a child’s pupil. I lay my judgements
down like swords. I am a romantic. I am star born.
I am a crimson rose bud waiting to take my turn in the sun.
Prompt from @amykaypoetry – Write a personal ad poem.