Closer.

It is the dark
and I force us to have a heart-to-heart
because there is something about nightfall
that makes my mouth
want to spill like a sieve
and your lips have no intention
of becoming a dam
to stop me.

It is the dark
and I am telling you about
how I might creep you out
and you bled me dry
and I had nothing
after  you had
up and left.
And I don’t expect you to apologize for this.
And you don’t.

But when I tell you
I know you won’t hurt me,
you agree.
And it’s that small reassurance.
that I haven’t been lying when I told others this,
that unleashes every hold on me
that believes I have to be my
caged self in front of you

so I come pouring forth,
rushing river,
and you take me in stride,
silent like every rock
that splits the water

and I didn’t get a chance to tell you
but I thank you for it,
I love you for it.

It is the dark,
and, sitting next to you,
I am who I am,
nothing more
nothing less
and I am content.

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Ms. Lonely, circa Summer ’16

This is for the
sieves like me.
For the girls bleeding out
and feeling empty
amidst the company.

This is for
every time my fingers
locked up at the joints
instead of typing
“Miss me?”

This is
me trying to find
peace
of mind
instead of a
new “piece”
for me.

This is Sargent Pepper’s
Lonely Hearts Club
with my heart as
drum beat.

This is all the friendships
I left out at sea.
This is symphony
of summer 2016.

This is trying to be okay,
right now,
and positive,
someday
I will be.

Rolling Pains

I’m running my fingers over my stomach:
a hill filled country,
a necessary plane.
And I notice the birth marks,
the little freckles given to me from both time
and sheer existence.
I think of how the sun will turn the peach fuzz
that forms a line to my sternum, golden,
I think of how it will disappear with the tan.
I think of how the sun will be the only thing
to kiss my stomach for the rest of this summer.
And yes,
that makes me sad.

Gabrielle

“Learn how to love someone well 
& don’t fuck it up.” 
– Moriah Pearson

So start with loving yourself.

I’m tired of watching myself
as if from a crow’s nest
this girl’s who’s scared of
her own reflection.

She holds saucers with shaky hands
and guzzles down cups of insecuri-
tea.

I want to look at her and say:
“Baby,
baby,
baby,
learn to sigh your own name,
your full name, and listen as it catches the wind.

Listen as it guides ships from ports
and toward undiscovered islands
of self-exploration.

Discover that you are every bit as varied
as the grains of sand upon the shore.
Discover your reflection in the see-through blue water
and do not be shocked when you find that it is 
beautiful.
Discover the feel of the sun on your skin and that
it is something else that makes you feel alive.”

I am tired of the looks of pity
from Kiana when she tells you:
“Even butterflies do not know
their own beauty.”
If it takes metamorphosis, 
to transform a girl
into a goddess,
I will stay through the hibernation period,
just to watch you launch from
a cocoon of self-doubt
and second guessing.

You have called yourself
“Duff” for far too long
and I am sickened by the fact
you hate your own empathy.
You find it weak that you cannot
just flirt with anybody.
You find it weak
that love consumes you
entirely
and have sworn off becoming attached
because it cracks open
your vulnerability.

I know how you place yourself in shadow,
consider yourself “there” and let others’ lights encompass rooms
as you smile from the edges. I know you may not accept
that you draw people in and that what you consider darkness is what others consider a story
and you are full of so much 
glory, baby,
baby,
baby.

Start with realizing that loving 
anything
takes strength.

Start with realizing
that you should first be
happy
with yourself
before being
happy
with anyone else. 

Start with realizing
that it’s okay to grow 
alone.
Ivy must start as a seed
before climbing the trellis. 

Start with loving
now,
with living 
now,
with watching
just how much a year can change.

And when you stand upon the shore,
with the waves of your island
lapping your toes,
I want you to know:
It’s all different,
you’re all different, and 
it’s 
okay.

I want you to learn 
to sigh your own name,
your full name, and listen as it catches on the wind.

Understand, 
this 
is only the beginning, 
and it is
perfectly okay
that you’re not the same.