Ode to Myself

Dizzy spinning romantic,
some days I wish you’d rest
and give the hem of your skirt
a break from always dancing
perfect circles around the truth.
Not many choose to envision the light
streaming warmth from others’ eyes
but you do
and sometimes it is all
you see.
I wish you understood
what their shadows whisper.
Not everyone is a Saint,
and neither are you, lover.
She who wields swords crafted from rubble
will never be a martyr, only an artist.
Some people are born with bones dripping gasoline
and from the instance of your conception
your body became the burning building.
Sometimes the earth will deny you salvation
And you will have nothing to eat.
You will eat your words
And still taste absence.
Is it a sin to be
A feeler, bleeding heart
Safety-pinned to her sleeve,
Sweaty palmed porcelain,
You wanted to be callous
psychopathic
cold
leather-bound life,
but you will always be
your mother’s daughter, weeping willow,
drowning in the hurricane floods
of someone else’s tears.
Is it a sin to be both
the sinking ship
and the survivor?

Diagnosis

I never wanted to be a poet.
I wanted to be a child.
The kind that could color
outside of the lines on purpose,
permanent marker stained fingertips
and neon green skies
if they felt like it.
Sometimes even electric purple.
The kind of child that defied gravity
on creaky playground swings
all cares ascending skyward, breath
caught in their front tooth gap. They soared.
They never thought of safety.
Yet I colored meticulously, memorized my boundaries,
peering out from behind perfectly painted white picket fences
but never brave enough to make friends
with the neighbors.
Or cross the street.
Or check the mailbox.
I chose my words
like Sunday outfits, and I was a Martian
on the Moon.
Only pale blue skies on my planet,
clinging onto those rusty chains
never loosening my grip on reality,
always so tight my fingers bled.

I never wanted to be a poet.
I wanted to be free.
But here I am,
and I live in the words
that live in me.
I cross the street.
I check the mailbox.
I let the neighbors know I love them.
Love
is not an occupation, nor a defect,
but a condition
of the poet.
Of the child who cannot cross
without looking both ways.

Saving Breath

I am learning to abandon every cardboard box
labeled safe and secure in gray matter.
To surrender the necessity of control,
to dismantle the anatomy of a girl
anesthetized in the shudder of change,
to harden her gaze towards metamorphosis.
So I give up everything I know, shedding
sanctuary skin, trading in comfort
for the perfect tremble of insecurity.
Farewell to the cushion of knowledge,
a safeguarded heart, days unmolested
by the anarchy of inexperience.
I say goodbye by practicing separation,
rejecting the warmth of tenderness,
a newborn expelled from a sacred womb.
I say goodbye by rehearsing strength,
repeating this does not hurt this does not hurt
this does not hurt
but my lips are bleeding.
I say goodbye to you
and you are all I know.
This discomfort, I tell myself,
is required. I repeat it
until it is all I understand—
the art of fleeing is the diagnosis of freedom.
They do not tell you the cure
is infection.
Because when I find myself standing
at the curb of departure,
and everything I love is packed away
into an iron cage in a backseat headed
toward oblivions I am not allowed to visit,
the ache feels more like betrayal.
And all I ever wanted was to be the one
to loosen the knot, to rupture the bind,
to have enough authority to
leave and never again look back,
but as the car picks up speed
I am the one left trembling alone
in every intoxicating fume.

I thought this was bravery.

But this is the dirt road dust of romantics
and here I am—asphyxiated, chasing tail lights,
racing for a dead end miracle
to carry it all back home
to safety.