d.j. post

22.
there’s
burning flesh on the ceiling
as i call
my love’s name
and feel those

(unfamiliar, too familiar)

hands grasp me.

i choke on smoke
and emotions
and feel my lungs collapse
under it all.

21.
the ache in my chest
has dulled to
a throb
that i feel in my veins;

calling his name over and over.

20.
him. him. him.

i use blonde hair and
curves
to distract me
from fields of green
and specks of gold
across cheekbones and noses.

i end the
day in a tangle
of sheets
and somehow feel
even emptier.

19.
i think i’m drowning.

18.
“i’m leaving for stanford”
somehow came out
“i’m leaving you”
and
the shrapnel
of my chest
blocks out
the light from the
windows.

i spit out words
like bleach
but they never clean.

my body trembled
like an earthquake
erupts from my bones
and i’ll never
forget the face
of a broken soldier
left to fight the war
a l o n e.

17.
another red
vacancy sign
lights up the edges
and curves
of his
face
and i feel a
little less like
broken glass
and more
like a match;
burning his face into
my memory
before it’s too
late.

16.
the more hunts,
the
more dad drowns
in whiskey.

15.
he comes
home smelling of
cheap
perfume with
red on his
collar and
the only thing
that makes me feel better
is knowing at least
my pillow
notices my tears.

14.
my first hunt.

my first time feeling
my hands turn into
guns
with my bones
grinding into gun
powder
and the smile
he gives me
makes me feel less
queasy.

maybe i can
forget the blood
staining my hands.

13.
my skin burns
like ivory wax
whenever he touches
me.

12.
there’s no christmas
this year and
all that’s there
is bruises and
tears
and
the sharp smell of
whiskey.

11.
on my birthday
i get a
gun too heavy for
my hands to hold.

(like his responsibilities)

10.
dad’s not home.
dad’s not home.
dad’s not home.
dad’s not home.

but, he’s here
to make up for it.

9.
i got a
.45
after telling my father
i’m scared of the
thing in my closet.

8.
my dad’s a superhero
but my big brother
is the one
saving me.

7.
the storm of rage
from my father
hit him
after he covered me from
its winds.

6.
there’s no food left and
dad’s not home.

5.
Why do we always move?
Where’s mom?
Why do we never talk about mom?
Where does daddy go for days
and come home smelling
burned and bitter?

4.
daddy’s car
broke down in
the middle of a
snow storm and
i tremble hard enough
to rattle the earth’s core.

he wraps his arms
around me
and i feel fire
melt the marrow
in my bones.

3.
daddy doesn’t read
to me anymore
so my big brother does it.

2.
daddy doesn’t give
me kisses anymore
so my big brother does it.

1.
i walk to him.

(only him, always him.)

0.
the little boy
kisses his mother’s
swollen tummy
and
swears he’ll protect
the baby with
his life.

(if only he knew.)

—  a story about the boy who saved the world once. (d.j.)