You don’t love her—or maybe you think you don’t,
Stuck stubbornly on the old toothless idea
That what you want means anything in a dusty world.
You don’t love her, but love doesn’t work like that,
And no one knows it better than you.
You don’t love her, and yet your wound is a wound
That burns nameless in the empty moments when
There is no distraction and no explanation.
You don’t love her, and you never would,
Only when someone says her name there are
So many words that want to tumble from your throat—
A million fish haphazardly caught under a distant moon.
You don’t love her, because it is better that way,
For her and for them and, most of all, for you.
No, you don’t love her, but your unlove pushes
Bitter flowers from your mouth while you sleep.



Twenty-seven years in this world, not one step
closer to home. I feel wet and skinless, made
up of paper maîche and glass prophecies.
This body.
There is something violent in me, something
that grows bigger and swells fatter every
season I stay and wait for a sign.
The refugee.
I am the voice crying out in our pale-boned
wilderness, exiled from my own land,
stumbling among remnants.
How I suffer,
unable to cross the ancient border, to appease
my neglected skin and bones in their
thirst for your most broken parts.
Twenty-seven years in this world, and I am older
than the oceans that toss and turn beneath
our matchstick universe.
I ache.
Every muscle,
every unblessed,
profane piece
of this body,
this body
born homesick.

a tale in six acts

I. There you are

A blazing flare of glory where your heart should be
Untamable, unknowable,
Like holy water, you slip through the ridges of his hands
You’re spectacular,
Nowhere and everywhere at the same time,
Twisting to a rhythm only you can hear,
You leave him heaving,
Chest knotted in his fingers,
Craving the bitten earth of your body,
Hungry for the saturated folds of your brain
Bathing himself in the perfume of your flesh,
The temple of your shamelessness,
Searching for your curves in every woman before and after—
And they never compare—
Covering his face as your glory passes by.

II. Then.

It is the death of a thousand everyday things,
The things that fastidiously tie you to earth.
The coffee makers and flowerpots and evenings spent forgetting your middle name.
The rupture.
The moment when you stop running,
Stop twisting,
Sit still, and wait.
Wait to be loved.
Wait for the hard edges and unlovable gaps to be shorn off, filled in.
You fade, waiting,
Falling into yourself,
A hundred skyscrapers toppling like cards into the sea,
All without sound.

III. He forgets.

He’s frustrated, unsure.
You were one thing in words and ideas,
Tantalizing, mesmerizing.
Here in the flesh you are another.
Oh, and you are another.
Aren’t you another?
Stay in one place, he says.
Can’t you just be still?

IV. So you try.

You freeze your feet into blocks,
Two-ton iron blocks that stick to the floor.
Your wings,
You wet them with silence
Until they hang off of you like ruined paper,
Glued to your flesh in the rain.
Quieter and quieter you fade,
Lost in the colorless background of nothing,
Of everything.
The brilliance of your body muted,

V. Until.

Until one day,
In the strangest small thing—
A note of a song, a line of a book,
A shimmer of blossoming embers—
You catch a moment,
A second,
The slightest, most haunting reflection,
A reflection of a woman that was you,
And who you can be again.
Who you will be again.
Who you are again, my dear, and always,
Always have been.

VI. The awakening.

This transformation,
A chain explosion of the things inside of you—
Things that you need to love,
Things that know your true name.
A midnight tide drowning the desert,
Life undaunted that swells up from the bottom,
Enraged at being suffocated for so long,
As if darkness could stifle light,
As if he could hold back the sea,
As if he could stop the surging of your body
Or erase language from your head.
This destiny of yours,
To rise and rise and rise,
Always rising,
As you reunite with the lost pieces,
Collect the broken things,
And never stop to wait again.


Sometimes I like to think of us
As pieces of an ancient star blown apart by time and circumstance,
Pieces that have spent the last thirteen billion years
Finding their way back to one other.


The morning I stopped believing in God I was thirteen. My childhood broke bread on its deathbed—

A cold planet born in foam and ash.

Years before, I stole ice cream from my grandmother’s freezer,
Took the only things that age had not,
Chocolate and the sound of a nearby washing machine still drive me to shame.
Like a too-tight shoe, I have often dreamed of shedding the coils of my body,
Pirouetting past the daily degradations and hungers,
Even as you have sat quietly outside and called my name.
I have wielded mighty instruments without care or thought,
Stumbled over the celestial busted forms of this sad, small world,
Closed my eyes while feeling my way along a dark corridor—

A seeker of double blindness.

I have chased you from the auspices of revelation
Employed parlor tricks to convince myself that loneliness is genius,
Lost my own body in the smoke and mirrors of daily living.
Behind false pretense and ugly make-believe, I store my fears one by one,
So many that I can divide them by size and color and texture,
So many that I can sell them all half-off, or free if you haul them yourself.
Not long ago, I took something that did not fit because I was afraid,
And then I gave it back because the fear did not go away,
I know fear’s angular collarbones and how she smells at night, her eyes—

A terrible reflection.