friendship

once, i remember, and will not soon forget
the filthy car he had to start with a spoon

driving me home to the cabin one night,
i am throwing up all over the car floor,
all over my feet

and when she said,
“to love someone is to feed their spirit”
i think i understood
that i have been loving wrong
all these years

in my bones lately,
i ache for green, wet earth
that stains the bottoms of my feet
that lives under my fingernails
that offers light in the form of
decay

once, singing on the concrete steps,
people pass by
and we gather our stray dollars and nickels
for a 6-pack of pbr

years later, you tell me one morning
that you have a problem to name
in the bottle of wine and
eight beers you drank last night

and once, singing in a quiet pizza place
she steadies my hands before we sing, together
“i’m so lonesome i could cry”

scattered, i find myself in the desert
but pieces of me float around
stretching from the potomac river
to the rolling green hills
and all the way to the high valley
surrounded by rocky peaks

and all the places in between

so as i walk back and forth to and from
the mailbox each day
in my loneliness i remind myself what
she once told me

“to love someone is to feed their spirit”

-A

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healing

TRIGGER WARNING: sexual assault

i find it in music
and self-expression

singing
crimson lipstick
mint nail polish, always chipping

still, i won’t wash my hair
*******
you are one thing, they say
you are a body
you must obey
and brush, shave, primp
tweeze, curl, straighten
cut, paint, dye, wax
apply, wash
scrub, blend

woman, you must
bleed
quietly
and
remain hidden
*******
i am a body,
for now
*******
in the background
at my desk
i fell asleep to the drone of
obsolete ideas

the old testament teaches
an eye for an eye
and Jesus said
thou shall not
steal

my catholic school uniform
white prep school collar, yellow pit stains
weekly mass,
asleep

amen, the body of Christ rose from the dead
I believe,
for now
*******
i am seventeen

please,
teach me how to say
No, I’m not ready
Respect Me
Leave Me The Fuck Alone
when he is pulling at my jeans
belittling my body with words as sharp as knives

and all I have left in me is breathing,
in and out
in and out
*******
i am twenty

please,
teach me how to sleep after
my friend tells me
she repeated no, no
over and over
*******
i am twenty-three

please,
teach me how to console
my roommate
who is still living in the past
as she came to and saw his shadow above her
through the darkness
******
i am twenty-five

please,
teach me how to explain
to my boyfriend’s friend
that it is not up to him to decide
how a person feels about their body, their pronouns,
their own self-expression
******
i’ve seen my sisters’ bodies
torn apart by expectations
and cruel, irreverent hands

i’ve seen tears
enough to
drink in our sorrow for
the rest of my days

hearts strewn, but our hands together
i’ve watched us
rise from the dead

not quiet, not hidden
open, bleeding, wounded

healing