Conundrum

She held more secrets than seconds in a day,
mumbling pained confessions in hushed whispers
that bled out like stab wounds trailing paths
on white snow,
painting a china doll façade made of scarlet
as an eloquent attempt to mask the fragility
she aspired to hold

And that is just what she did,

She held,

onto hopes dangling from the edge of skyscrapers,
breath permanently stolen from her lungs
despite shaking hands itching to let go

storing memories made of dust within damaged pockets
even when the weight got so gruesome
she could no longer bear to walk
with a soul made entirely of gray matter,
training heartstrings to stretch
and cradle every delicate moment
she feared losing
before they could even take place

She is the girl who will collect your voicemails,
hoarding letters like seashells
resting along abandoned shorelines
due to the danger of losing the soft breaths
of the only one who was capable
of breaking all of her rules,
who whispered her name like
unfinished stanzas of a poem
she did not know how to write

Fear,
and fear alone-
of the potential that the ocean could swallow
the glass shards and kiss the remnants of her joy
goodnight
before she could even feel them
splashing against the same skin
she never felt at home in

cabin fever

even now, there are days I spend floating
in unfamiliar skin that never stops
aching to crawl away from me,
plagued with thoughts that sit
like clumps of undissolved sugar
in tea that tastes different this morning

outside, I can hear the love song
of snowflakes caressing my windowpane

and it is strange to think that
somewhere, someone is
holding their newborn child,
tiny hands and dark hair, with eyelashes
fluttering like trees in blizzard wind,
and someone else is hearing the ancient voice
of the father they never got to meet
at the end of a static telephone call

my heart leaps for the little girl
with pink dimpled cheeks,
her favorite polka-dotted dress
spinning in unpredictable circles, eyes up
at the kites dancing against the baby blue sky
somewhere warm, whimsical, and
dreamed of

today, there is joy
but it cannot find me

Little Lessons

When my daughter asks me to French braid her hair
I will smile with my eyes and tell her
to sit criss-cross applesauce on her bedroom carpet,
letting silk tresses flow down her back,
beckoning to be weaved into everything
I still do not know
how to tell her

I will paint her the colors of the past
upon the beaming canvases of her eyes,
the colors of Matisse, and Monet,
Rembrandt’s best,
I will teach her to find devotion
in the security of her own skin,
music in the way she weeps quietly to herself
when she gives away all her love
to a world who cannot accept it

And one day,
long after the braids have been released,
I will wipe away her tears and tell her
that the masquerade is over,
that sometimes, baby girl,
the festivities will hush
but the carnival always comes
around again in the summer

She nods
with inherited apprehension,
she does not believe me

Darling, my darling,
you do take after your mother
after all

requiem for the forgotten

the poet smiles at her reflection
in a mug of English breakfast,
tiny sips of truth as she dreams
of the return of her muse

and as expected,
today he is silent

dotting her i’s with his lopsided grins
she hums quietly,
sealing the thousandth one
she will never get around to sending

using kisses as postage stamps,
she adds another to a pile
of flimsy envelopes addressed
to a ghost
who cannot answer.

Wishes

On weary Saturday afternoons,
she wears her heart
safety-pinned to the sleeves
of her favorite sweater,
her evanescent lungs collapsing tiredly
within the back pocket of her jeans

But despite this, her eyes beam upward
at the passersby,
cheeks flushed crimson at the possibility
that he might be amongst them,
her love,
the one who stored his sins
in a paper bag- and released them
like fireflies in the summer
pounding against glass jars
they cannot escape

But today she cannot find him,
just massive seas of unfamiliar faces
and uncharted passions,
so she gazes up at the tangerine sky
and sighs,
hoping that her tired wishes
on fallen eyelashes
will pay off someday.