My mother asked me
If I wanted double eyelid surgery
In the same tone
You would use to ask someone
If they wanted ice cream


To her
It is a sign
Of how much she loves me
She wants me to be beautiful
At any cost

To me
She might as well have asked me
To take the scalpel to her own skin
Cut out the self-loathing
Remove the years of inadequacy

I want to take both her hands in mine
And tell her
I am the product of her resilience
And tenderness
And sacrifice

I can ask for no more
I am already beautiful
letter to my mother #6

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Loving him was like
Flying over water

If the plane crashes
The ocean swallows you whole
her, the ocean

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I know
You never meant to hurt me
I also know
That in spring
A tree’s leaves will always return

That doesn’t make
The winter any less painful


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I asked you how you know
How you believe in permanence
The way I believe
In a drive-by kind of love

You said it’s in the way
My head fits under your chin
Your nose into the hollow
Of my collarbone

You said it’s in the way
Your fingers automatically reach
For mine when we’re
Asleep or awake

You said it’s in the way
You see the depth of my past
And it is not something to flinch from
You would erect monuments
For the wars I have lived through
I have never known anyone
Who dressed me in moonshine and clarity
Like I was a gold mine
Instead of a grenade

I asked how you know
And you said
You have always known
it’s in the way

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One weekend
When you were in town
I told you
We only had 12 waking hours together
And I wanted to spend as many of those
Touching you as possible

You tease me
For not knowing how
To keep my hands to myself

But baby, it’s not just my wandering hands
It’s my hungry eyes
And butterfly stomach
And raindrop heart
Stained with the memory of you

Twenty years from now
I’ll still want you
And no matter how many
Lifetimes I live through
I will never stop waking you up
To the rhythms of my body
As I rub my nose into your bare chest
And drag my fingers along
The silk of your arms
The expanse of your shoulders

Twenty years from now
I’ll remind you how we met
Twenty years ago and
Even then I couldn’t keep my hands off you

twenty years from now (for JS)

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I am not looking
For someone to love me

I am looking
For someone who
Loves himself enough
To believe that
I can help him do that better
i know better now #3

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This is the year
Of settling

Not for someone
Or something

But into
My skin
This city

I’m settling
And digging
And growing

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When I pick a shirt
That will hide these
So-called love handles better
I think about how
We choose clothes to cover flesh
But in other countries far
Removed from our realm of experiences
People long for flesh to cover bone
there are more important things

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You tell me
My honesty is beautiful
And brave

I do not know what that means

Writing is the only way I know
To bleed
Without leaving scars
why i write

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I know I said I would be strong
And I was done with believing words we exchanged
In the crisp of autumn
Before winter made everything hard
I said I was going to keep
Some of my secrets for myself next time
And I would learn to love sleeping alone again

I know what I said

That doesn’t mean I don’t still find you everywhere
In the way my legs still look
For something to wrap themselves around
In the way that everyone I have hurled
Myself against since you left
Gapes at the edges with your absence

I keep trying to fill the spaces
With your laugh and our memories
The first time I woke up next to you
The last time I woke up next to you
The road trip where you said I love you
And I cradled those words softly in my chest
Like if I held them too tightly
They would disappear
I was always afraid you would disappear

I remember the countdown to New Year’s together
6 - New York is heavy with the dreams you decided
5 - Eclipsed the possibility of us
4 - I believed that maybe, just maybe, this time
3 - I would finally make it a full 365 days with someone
2 - Who would be there for all the changes that a year brings
1 - I still have the Christmas gift I made for you in my closet
Happy New Year

I know I said I would win the break-up this time
If it’s a competition to see
Who can split open the most veins possible
You never had a chance
I always had a headstart
Because last night when I found myself
Body-deep in someone else
I didn’t know what to do with my hands
They just kept aching for you
I washed the sheets immediately after
So give me a gold medal
Because I’m breaking and bleeding
And I do not know my way back

I’m looking to forget you in all the wrong places
i know what i said

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