1. If you’re dying of dehydration, drink the whole bottle of water.
2. Don’t wear your seat belt in the car. Ever. Not even on the highway. Not even if you’re drunk.
3. Drive drunk.
4. Raspberries are erotic and I don’t know why.
5. Rub the spices into the raw meat, against the grain.
6. You can build a home out of twigs and straw and mud. You are a tiny bird who does not feel.
7. Planes fall out of the sky all the time. It’s not scary. It just is.
8. Collect the dew off the plants before the morning breaks the horizon. Massage the moisture into your lips.
9. Bears hibernate 8 months out of the year.
10. Berries, honey, fish, ash.
11. It’s going to be okay.
If the apocalypse was tomorrow I would break into The Louvre and steal your favorite painting so we could hang it in our shack and watch the paint strokes as we waited to die, together.
You were like the streetlight outside my bedroom window,
shining orange into my room,
pushing on my eyelids, even when they were closed.
I could not escape you.
You were like a song in my throat,
rough against my cords and aching in my mouth.
I couldn’t get rid of you no matter how hot the bath was,
no matter how long or hard I scrubbed with sea salt and lemon rinds.
I rubbed coconut oil into my new skin, so I could be soft as a love sigh,
even though I never wanted to be touched again.
I am like the insect, who sneaked into the room through a very small crack and I will die in here because I don’t remember how to get back out.
How to Be
1. I thought if I hurt somebody, it would come back to haunt me in other ways so I never broke an egg, I never scowled, I never dug my nails into the dirt or pulled out my own hair or cursed a bolt of lightning. I smiled. I said “Yeah, we should probably just be friends.” I said “No, really, I’m fine.”
2. When the water drips from the faucet, I sing the song my mother taught me as a child. The one for protection.
3. I practice saying “no,” because I don’t know how to not let people use me. I maybe have never known. I have spent 22 years being agreeable. Tonight, I am carving “fuck you” into my tongue so every word I speak will be touched by it.
4. There was a time when I thought letting go of a thing meant it would be gone. Now I push things and they do not budge. I tie ropes around them and pull but they do not tip. My grief defies the rules of gravity.
5. You were a statue behind 6 inch thick glass. I bought a membership to the museum so I could visit you every day. I know you from every angle.
6. I say hello to you when I see you at the bar. I sip my beer in silence. I am trying to be a good person. I am not trying to ruin your life. One life was enough.
7. I am a coffee stain or a sword in a stone.
8. When the rain falls, I feel your hands on my hips, sliding into panties.
9. I am inventing a machine so I can go back to 2007 and tell you “no.” I am inventing a machine so I can call a 16 year old version of myself and tell her that saying no will not hurt her. In the long run, yes hurts more.
The longest I’ve ever loved someone is a few hours.
Tighten your muscles up and relax them slowly, over and over.
That painting in the Met, the one with the strokes in short bursts?
I see it when I close my eyes at night to go to sleep.
Sometimes I know things without knowing how.
Birds whisper things to me as I pass by.
Leaves and boots were made for each other.
My coffee is steaming in my hands.
My palms are maps.
I follow them through the woods.
I follow them home.
ink, wings, crunch.
When it rains, we place tin buckets underneath the cracks in our ceiling
and then play at an obstacle course trying to walk around them.
The power goes out but we only see by candlelight anyway.
We touch each other’s fingers and hands like we are Deaf and Blind.
In the morning, the cats drink from the dirty rainwater in the buckets,
I take a sip too, I want to know what the sky and our house tastes like.
I brew coffee and tea and make toast with butter and jam and read.
The birds are whistling and I don’t know what they are saying.
The pages of my book and the tips of my fingers are sticky.
I lick them clean, delicately, like a lover, like a cat.
I wake you up with my tongue.
It has been raining for three days and instead of dumping the buckets,
we bathe in them and feel like clouds and ceilings.
I am obsessed with colors and you like to sleep all day.
Happiness is a quiet thing.
Extinct Animals and Why They are Sad
My body is a house with 1800 rooms.
I am trying to get you lost.
I think sadness is drawing a horse on a card
and leaving it in a library book for someone to find.
He brushed a strand of hair behind my hair and said,
I wonder what it feels like to be you.
Like all the songs ending at once,
every sunset on fire,
a hurt and howling animal deep, deep in the darkness of a forest.
I can do more things than tricks to entertain you.
I am not a dog,
though I have cried for the moon.
I am not a moon,
but I have been silent before.
I am not silent.
I have dug dirt out from beneath my fingernails.
I am just bones inside of meat
All I want to know is how people arrange their bodies
so that other people will love them.
I understand nothing.
and I am
opening doors that nobody ever taught me how to close
and I am
standing in a dark forest, wishing wishing wishing
and I am
yours. Always yours, even when I don’t fucking want to be.
and I am
trying to forget you but you keep calling and I keep picking up
hello, I say
hello is appropriate for us.
I am continually asking the openness whether or not you are there.
This is how it is
the knife tip pressed against my silent eyes
my eyelashes are prayers
falling upon my cheeks,
falling upon deaf ears,
my imaginary blood imaginary spurting.
white feathers, black smoke.
After a few bottles of beer,
I convince myself that
I am a sacrifice you made to the god of mistakes.
A doctor peeled me,
skin to muscle to bone
and put me back together again,
but I can’t seem to pull my own strings.
Glass bodies hanging from metal hooks,
time machines of bone and dust and knobs,
a splinter in my throat the size of a door
a locked door with no hinges and no handle,
opened eyes in the pitch black of the middle of the night.