structure fire

if your heart is a votive, mine is a structure fire
how i yearn for that sweet incineration that burns
away all memory, blackening out all the dark hours
of loneliness until they turn to ash and blow away.
when we lose everything we are free, i am told,
but i am unable to cut these tendrils of feelings
attached to the cigarette embers that were there
for me when no one else was, or could be.
help me forget. i have experienced madness, love,
rage, and sorrow, and it is only late afternoon.

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4am

waiting for the day to break in to something more,
i curry addiction with broken-fingered resignation
to leave this dilated sphere sooner than anyone might
have imagined. in the darkness that curls around me
like the underside of a leaf, i am as safe as i might
be inside plato’s cave, making shadow puppets on the
walls. i think about my father who i don’t visit but
look for in every older man i meet, how i never
measure up in ways small and large, from not being
able to roll a cigarette to not being a good daughter,
and how i don’t find myself relating to my old music
anymore, how angst has been replaced by the kind of
reluctant complacency that one gets from growing old,
how beauty needs to be pointed out to me like staring
at a painting for a long time and not seeing how many
different shades of green there are. everything just
looks grass-green, waiting to be cut by the lawnmower,
a monoculture half-obscured by the blindness of an
aching fatigue that grows with every passing year.
in the shower, i notice the veins roping along the
backs of my hands, and i want to cut them out with
a razor, string them around my neck to show proof
of how hard i work to be loved, but a coin under the
tongue is not enough fare, and i will be stranded
on the banks for all of eternity with a full pack of
cigarettes and a lighter empty of fluid.