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.
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.
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.
I suppose I am lucky,
despite this clumsy heart
and when the angels come to take me
they will quiver and bow
before following in my stead
am not the kind of woman
who looks back.
all the things that I am trying to say
are falling into the cracks between my brain and my mouth
and it’s too dark down there to dig them out and give them to you.
I am good at silence.
my therapist is asking me to list my good traits
and I can’t stop thinking about that night
you drove me home in the snow,
hand on my knee,
and how you said you wanted this
but once I gave it to you,
I’m thinking about the paring knife in the kitchen
and how very soft the skin on the insides of my arms are.
peaches, pears, plums.
bugs often live inside soft fruit
and worm their way out once they’ve had their fill.
my therapist asks me why I tried to drown myself
and I can’t tell her that I was trying to drown the other me
I was surprised the water didn’t boil when I went under
I was so mad at you.
She hands me a tissue, says in her quiet voice,
sometimes holding on to something light
helps me talk about what I’ve already let go.
the water didn’t boil,
it froze over until I was trapped
underneath, slamming my fists into the ice.
I am The Fool,
hanging upside down from a tree,
hanging on your every word,
hanging in the balance.
a bag over my face,
a sudden drop
as if god flicked his wrist
and said ‘I do not believe.’