where were you when the clouds hazed over the moon
when the most acute longings boiled to the surface like a sea on fire
i have waited an eternity for just a few moments to rest
a few minutes to sit and catch my breath in a field of marigolds
swallowing petals like poultices for my lungs that are weary of breathing
i am a curtain filling with light as the dawn breaks over the line of the sea
the billowing wind that carries with it the sense of treason against dreams
and the singular thought that i might never get to do what i was meant to
here in this incarnation where i gasp as i run towards the shoreline
that would let me give myself to that primordial rush
that swells beneath my skin battered by memory,
that would forgive me of my mistakes plentiful as rain,
that would finally let me unyolk myself, and be free.


identity theft

the thing about not having one is that you always have
to get someone else’s: you used to pick up odds and ends
of speech, incorporate it into your own vocabulary, words
for feelings of chronic emptiness and impulses to spend
money and take a razorblade to yourself (although that
has become more of an occasional occurrence now). you
couldn’t spend too much time around doctors because
you’d start quoting whole passages from the DSM about
what it’s like to not know who you are, in clinical
terms, of course. you wore masks for a while but people
could still recognize you by the scars on the rest of
your body, you wore hats but everybody always knew it
was you. and who were you? you tried on personality
types like ill-fitting shirts, thinking to yourself
this is it. this is me. this is who i am. but a button
would fall off or you’d get your sleeves dirty and you’d
have to take it off. underneath was your torso, marked
with dotted lines in sharpie, sectioning off the genres
and subgenres of who you were that day, that minute.
you’d steal the way someone stood as they waited for
the bus stop on the corner, thinking this seems like the
way i would stand
, you’d morph your thinking to match
whoever happened to be across the table from you, you’d
dress the dress and act the act, trying to blend in,
right before you snatched someone’s affectation right
out from under them. you’d go to the zoo and look at
the octopi and the chameleons in their cages and whisper
to them to tell you their secrets. they never answered.

to exist in the moment between the opening and closing of an eye–

not even breath will save you now, we drown in azure lightness
with honeycomb hearts that crumple at the slightest touch.
i have been here. i have been here before, at this place where
i am alone with myself and insane. my arms are starlit scars
that open again and again like mouths that will not shut up,
and the flesh of my abdomen swells with infection that i carry
as close to me as a baby, something i refuse to give up, for
without it, there is no meaning left in the lover’s touch so
soft against my face that pulls you in like a black hole–
you look at me and you are already doomed. there are teeth
that grind bone to powder here and lies as big as universes,
memory that has gone to ash but you can still wake and feel
the grit of it on your tongue. i was never more trapped than
when they said i could go. i was never more afraid than when
i had to name myself, explain myself for what i was and what
i had done. for how do you explain nothing, nothing, nothing.