Sorry for lack of posting the past couples of days. sick.
Lies I Tell My Mother (Submission)
Because I woke up lying backwards
in the bed, tangled in his heavy
rapaciousness due to last night’s
three bottles of Freixenet Brut,
because I really only wanted
his touch and not his lust—
impatient ex-lover, don’t you know
you can’t trust me when I tell you
that I’m over the last four months—
once again, I am here. Precious mother,
this poem won’t make you proud. But
then again, this poem isn’t about you.
It’s about him and I, our drunkenness
last night, when the idea of me lying
next to him seemed nothing short
of tantalizing, but now, with the on-set
of a hangover that cost only 8.95, there’s
nowhere I’d rather be but out there, outside.
From the crevice in his bed, I breathe in,
still half asleep. My tongue already feels
fat from the lies I will keep:
Mother, this poem is not about you.
Mother, last night I got some sleep.
Poetry is what happens when nothing else can.
We Haven’t Felt Each Other’s Skin Since The Beginning Of September
The end of September
has us drawing back
and clenching our mouths.
It must be the fall weather,
we say from opposite sides
of the house. We attempt
to hide our crossed fingers
behind our swollen backs,
try to swallow the hardened
truth with each shallow breath.
Spite and remorse spill out onto
the floor, soaks into the carpet,
stains the floorboards. We gulp
in unison, as if we were
Our eyes say we’re finished,
but our bodies beg more.
I Watched You Fall Asleep From The Corner Of The Bathroom Last Night
You used to close your bedroom door
at night—weld it shut with the inner workings
of each day: the things you kept unsaid, the words
you would never say—but last night you left it open
wide as if the furniture needed room to breathe,
as if the door, on its slightly crooked hinge,
had its own working set of lungs.
When did we become strangers, you and I?
When did we lay in the bed less like lovers
and more like corpses about to die?
Don’t you dare tell me I have no room to cry.
Because I buried three people this summer
alone, watched their bodies descend into
lonely holes called graves, spent every night
either wasted, high, or just wide awake.
Don’t lie through your teeth; I know you
heard me mumbling worthless prayers
those nights. Yes, I have a lot to be
saved from, but not from you and I.
Don’t you dare say I have no room to cry.
I glance towards your laden bedroom
from the bathroom with the foggy mirror
and broken light; maybe you’ll actually fix it
now that you have the time. But currently you
are asleep, lying on the bed like a corpse
so poised, and your bedroom breathes heavy
from the dead weight of both you and I.
All beautiful things must come undone.
Doors can still breathe with inadequate lungs.
Come to me wide open;
I’m tired of sweeping
things under the rug.
Let’s go back to December,
the month we fell in love.
Miriam, thank you so much, you are so sweet. I can’t wait to get your letter. I always write back, so expect something soon.
P.S. I am publishing this instead of answering privately so others can see that I really do want, and welcome, letters. Thanks so much. Talk to you soon through snail mail :)
To My Mother, To Answer Last Night’s Question:
Did I tell you about the whiteness
in his pupils last night?
Mother, we are doing some version of fine.
Forget about the end of summer;
it was a hard time.
The broken plates, the broken souls,
we were young, don’t you know?
How do I convince you we are no longer young though?
How do I tell you about last night
when we visited the tracks where the train
rolled right over her porcelain frame.
Hannah, why did you leave us? Has the hurt
been heavy ever since you came?
I know Salem trapped your heart in a cage,
rested onerously on your lungs and heavy
on your bones. I know you didn’t have any place to go.
When you heard the whistles sounding that ominous
gray July night, did you feel empty or actually alive?
By then, the heaviness of life had so crippled your spine,
bent it into the shape of a sad cello’s bow.
Hannah, please tell us, is it beautiful where we go?
I’m veering off course; this is not a poem for the dead.
Mother, these are my words unsaid.
Precious mother, this here is for you.
Unforgiving mother, if only you knew
what I’ve been through.
July brought catastrophe,
August brought curse,
September kept me crying,
and October might be worse.
But last night, him and I,
at the tracks where Hannah laid down her bones,
we released our confessions up to the numinous moon
with raspy throats, and to answer your question,
yes, regret came too soon.
But his eyes were the color of picket fences
painted white, and for some reason,
that made the last four months feel alright.
Mother, to answer your question,
we are doing just fine.
Writers end up writing about their obsessions. Things that haunt them; things they can’t forget; stories they carry in their bodies waiting to be released.