anya, ohioan, 18. art & psychology major at osu, creator of art, admirer of words, learning to be self-secure, in love with a boy.
most days i’m afraid
you’ll tire of me as easily
as you move your arm out
from under me when we sleep.
in the time that i think
about you each night,
i’ve passed thousands of stars
i could have wished
my worries away on.
i get jealous of the wrinkles
on your bed sheets;
if only i could keep on my skin
each crease and fold
under your weight.
last time I saw my father, he laid
in his deathbed gasping to fill
his trembling lungs, trying
to keep his eyelids aflutter.
it might make me sick, but
I wish he used those same vibrations
in his rotting heart earlier
to cradle his wife, whose sweat
evaporated into the kitchen air
with the gas oven fumes
for twenty-some years.
she wiped the saliva off his
fish hook lips but she couldn’t
rub away the traces of the lips
of women who came before
and during herself. she has stitches
all over her love, running through
her throbbing blue veins
but not a single tatter or remnant
was given away or thrown
over her shoulder.
when the heart monitor flatlined
he left his wife and two daughters
as hollow as his cheekbones,
a cadaver that I thought
would get up and leave us again.
my mother told me always
to not grieve over the years
I’ve lost in illness but
I still smell wine on her tongue
with the smoke of my father’s cigars.
I look at the stars at night
wondering where I’ll be
among them, if at all.
I can talk pretty and bat my lashes,
blow kisses to boys I have no intentions
of fixing — I’m no puzzle piece
to jam into another’s life,
and I’m not quite sure they’d like
the picture I put together.
my mother braids my hair
around my head, a bastardized halo,
and little does she know
I only climb staircases going down.
My lips are swollen,
bitten by my own silent
no, no, no, no, no.
I used to freeze
with the winter under my skin
and I used to adore
the heat of your
fingertips on my cheeks;
you stamped your
fingerprints under my eyelids,
in the shape of
purple thistle bruises
disguised as budding lavender —
the heat of your fingertips
brought comfort once
on my quivering limbs
but the sheets feel
too warm. they tangle me
and I’m trapped.
I am so moved with the sorrow of loving you that tears roll into the pillows of which your head rested with mine just a few days ago. You’re not here but I see the invisible ghost you’ve laid in your place, the sheets disheveled around him like a casket of that moment. My bed still smells like you.
He’s the autumn wind that blows the tatter of my limbs to wherever I need to go until we meet again. I see him laughing at me when it’s still October and I have lists lining the walls of Christmas presents to get you. He drags me out of bed because he knows I’ll hate myself again when I accidentally wash your scent away with tears.
I see your fingerprints all over my skin and all over my heart. You keep it lodged in your ribs sometimes because I can’t carry it and it’s laden with stretch marks. I hate my stretch marks and I’d beg you to fuck me until I don’t feel anything but you make every part of me feel like a live wire. Somedays I’m afraid we’ll wake up with the sheets on fire.
you steer your words to gather like the dust
in my throat i choke on. don’t send me away
like this town sends the sun from the horizon
every time we breathe forbidden cigarettes
on your rooftop. the smoke is white noise
swirling in your eyes, green like jade plates.
i’d carve my heart out onto a silver platter,
murmur, “eat your heart out.” eternal life
is digging my grave for you, the grave-robber.
i adore the unapologetic jab of your tongue
reaching viscerally into wounds we cut
in my flesh. your words gather like dust
i huff out when you choke and fuck me.
you make the air
taste like sugar
and you crystallize
inside my lungs.
you make it hard
for me to breathe,
you make me wheeze.
i left the ghost of my fervor
folded into your bedsheets;
lull me back home again
in the curves of your tender palms,
and fill my suicide eyes.
i’ll keep you high on what you need,
keep you keep on breathing.
keep on breathing
keep us in the making,
how easily i unravel
at the slight
of his fingertips
with my knees
dream me up pretty
so when the lights
ascend, you do not see
the pieces of me
melted like oceandrops
into my pillowcase.