lockett and keays

I made you so beautiful and I could never live
holding you up like a carrot for my own flesh
I said you looked like me but I lied and lied and here lying secretly
so long since in my own skin,
I know how perfectly different you were
and how all my wishing wouldn’t will away our divergence.

your wine-rich voice and my late-night silent whining
pining to be the dream I drew you in
I cleared your playlist but I still can’t sing
without wanting to weep for you.

I carried and cursed you and just like they said
you made me threefold in return
my endless regret that I made and gave everything
to a masquerade pearl
as mad as I was powerless in the web.

(it’s true that sometimes I smell him, milk and powder, but
you have to hear him crying for ever –
I’m sorry.
my guilt may be misguided but misuse has left fault-lines on my mind.

in the quiet of my rubbed-rosemary, twenty-twelve, rue-aching,
pretending to clean but intending to punish,
I salt my own wounds in your memory.)


graphite elegy

I have more days without you than fingers
and they are long and thin,
drawn out over hours and my notebook where I try
to remember the shape of you
confusing your isomer bones instead of benzenes.

today it is eleven –
the tips of my hands grow short and stout and
I wish this time would too.

those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind

(it’s not all in my head
but even if it was
how do I get it out?)

the same people who told me I am just fine as I am
gave me lists of where a woman could have neat, tidy hair
marked this ‘unacceptable’ and that ‘disrespectful’
locked me in the house to change into something sensible
frowned when I sucked too much or sucked in too little.

and though now they are gone from my daily daring to breathe
I live in fear of their return: and my trailing tears
fill the imprint of their words, coding me with my own salt
so no, I don’t think I will ever be able
to stop fighting my own reflection.

(you weren’t supposed to matter
but among the other things I cannot fight
your scorn reigns supreme
even now.)

sweet Sorrento moon / Maryland I’m coming home

between Sorrento and Maryland I had a lot of dreams
about homes that were pre-prepared, pre-loved
that would take me in like wings
whose stories would stir seamlessly into my own
places I hadn’t seen or felt but heard and hungered for –

I never knew then, young and lonely,
that homes are built with hugs as much as bricks
set in songs themselves as much as cities
paved in the inimitable gold of sunsets shared.

(I went to Sorrento and saw the moon, here and there,
and while I didn’t feel less lonely I did feel less alone.
she doesn’t know me, that sky,
and I don’t know her side-by-side sister yet, though now I am beginning.)

[I made my home between my own knees, drawn to my breast,
and you can come too, if you like;
you’re the hearth, after all]