ARIES: I heard that somebody with icicles in their chest once told you that spring was only for people that know how to be wanted but they were lying. Hardly anybody takes care of honesty the way that you do and somehow that’s still a surprise. Take the weight of your insecurities and lay them to rest underneath a gravestone. When wildflowers grow from what you buried don’t bother to pick them. They’ll always be there. Don’t you know what it’s like to come back to things?
TAURUS: The peach pit on your dresser has been sitting there for years and it’s okay that you can’t throw it out yet. Okay that you can’t put it back into the fruit and unbite all of the soft and the sweet and the “maybe this time it’ll be different” that leaked out onto your fingers on the nights that your teeth feel too used to be desired. Wash your sheets and dry them outside. Lay underneath the clothes line and listen. Unclench your fists. Rewrite the grocery list.
GEMINI: It isn’t your fault that not everyone can swallow the parts of you that have sharp edges. You’ve been spending too much time forcing yourself down the linen aisle when you should be finding the nearest comic book store. There’s a reason superman is nicknamed “man of steel” and you deserve all of the iron-throated hearts that you can find. Invest in a metal detector. Don’t be ashamed of what you find.
CANCER: The way you bare your chest to the world is terribly brave and I don’t want you to continue feeling responsible for the people you’ve kissed that have taken advantage of that. Skin-deep damage does not make you unlovable, it gives you new perspectives. Don’t apologize for the ways you have tried to survive this. You’re better than the fires you’ve walked through and the storms you’ve caused. Suck on a peppermint until it loses its flavor. Name the taste after your last heartbreak. Now spit it out.
LEO: Your chest caves in whenever you think about the past and nobody’s ever told you that everything is temporary. Well, honey, I have some news for you. Start checking the mailbox again before the neighbors start to worry. People still want to stain paper with your name and martyring yourself over words is something you’ve become too talented at. Take a break, now and again. Burn the television set if that’s what it takes. Air out the smoke and look into a mirror, admire how powerful you seem as you step out of the haze of what’s gone.
VIRGO: Oh, baby, you’ve made mistakes and you’ve drained the bottles but you’re not the only one who’s felt like this. I know that it’s hard to let yourself feel these things but you have to try, you have to let the light in. It’s so dark in the room you’ve been using to store your regrets and your pallor has become a reflection of the ghosts you’ve been taking orders from. You were made for the sun. Let it kiss you without repercussion. Allow yourself to kiss it back.
LIBRA: So maybe you dropped too many pennies down the wishing well and now your wallet is nothing more than negative space. So maybe you forgot who gave you that good advice that one time and you’re still beating yourself up over it. Go ahead, admit to your faults. Set a place for them at the table and scold them for being late. Eat their portion and kick them out. Being familiar with every side to your geometric personality is not something to be ashamed of. Remember the angles, and keep moving. People like you are not meant to stand still.
SCORPIO: I think that your ears were made for listening to things that break. The shattering of a vase. The cracking of a heart. Does it ever get exhausting to be so awfully aware of how things sound when they forget to function? Nobody expects you to take every smashed hope and piece it together on your own. You are not a bottle of glue no matter how much you feel disaster sticks to you. I promise. You don’t have to carry that toolbox around, anymore. It looks heavy. Set it down.
SAGITTARIUS: You have your father’s mouth and consequently have dreams where you’re ripping it from your face. Somebody told you once that you were inadequate and now there’s a bruise on your ego and you can’t seem to stop touching it. Why are you so obsessed with how long it takes to heal? Why are you so afraid of letting people see you cry? Take off your armor and let your skin breathe. There’s still time to be okay with the idea of loss. You’re not too late. You’re not too late.
CAPRICORN: Stop using the word pathetic whenever anybody asks you to describe yourself. The people that hold you accountable for the abuse you’ve endured are the ones that turn away whenever they see it. You don’t need them, you never did. Can you feel that prickling sensation running up your arms? It’s tomorrow knocking and it wants to show you something beautiful. Let it. You’ve handled tragedy, surely you can handle tenderness.
AQUARIUS: You’ve been fucked over so many times it’s hard not to see yourself as a hotel room on the outskirts of town. Dark red bedsheets and rusty doorknobs and a lampshade that hasn’t been touched in a decade or two, this is where you lie and try to erase the memories from your naked body. You don’t want to belong to anybody almost as much as you don’t want people to believe they’ve changed you. They haven’t, you know that right? No matter how many people hike up mount everest it’s still a mountain. It’s still bigger than what’s stepping on it. It still keeps its name.
PISCES: You’ve become so good at sacrificing yourself for the possibility of something worthwhile that your body looks more like an altar than an assortment of bones. If this is your church I hope that your god looks like your nine year old face whenever somebody asked what you wanted to be when you grew up. I hope your prayer sounds like an exhale and that your choir sings in harmony and that every donation tastes like honey. Don’t forget to bow your head every once in a while. Remind yourself of your feet. Of how fast you’re able to run.
On Tumblr, #poetry is the most popular writing tag, with 10% more overall engagements than the next most popular writing tag, #prose. To top that off, #poetry was in the top 5% of all of the tags used on Tumblr in 2016.
From classic #haiku to transformative #visual poetry, #all caps poetry images and #spoken word videos, poetry on Tumblr has a variety of formats for you to tell your friend that you’ve eaten the plums out of their icebox.
Where the writers go
Since many people share curated works using the #poetry tag, a few other tags for mostly original work have popped up. The first is #poets on tumblr, which was the fourth largest community tag on Tumblr last year. Writers began using the tag to share their original work in the early 2010s and between 2013 and 2014, overall engagements (searches, original posts, reblogs and likes) grew 1366%. Over the next two years, that growth continued at an average of 214% per year.
#Spilled Ink started in 2011 after a pair of friends wanted a create a tag for poets on Tumblr to find each other’s work. Since 2013, The tag has averaged 41% year over year growth and has expanded to also include prose and other writing. It’s now one of the largest writing communities on Tumblr. For some sense of scale, in 2016, there were 32% more posts tagged #spilled ink than #poets on tumblr.
Finally, #Excerpt From A Book I’ll Never Write started appearing three years ago for short snippets of poetry—pieces of work shared with no pressure to be complete or finished. In 2014, only a handful of original posts were made with the tag, but were reblogged extensively throughout the year. Between 2014 and 2016, overall engagements in the tag increased 10,407%.
No matter what your favorite kind of poetry is, there are dozens of tags to find your next favorite writer on Tumblr. In addition to those mentioned above, there’s also:
#slam poetry, for those who see poetry as a competitive sport
when the weight came off of my chest at first it was as if the pain was still there as if a phantom pressure was still holding me down and when i took that first gulp of air (my first real breath in a long, long time) it hurt like my body was rejecting what i so badly needed maybe i had made a mistake (no, no i didn’t; it was killing me to stay underneath) (i deserve to breathe)
sometimes i feel like a paper cut that never stops bleeding, a rifle discharging into a thicket named after your brother.
in my head we have more than a bedroom to our legacy, more than crumbling dictionaries or pressed leaves. i suppose everyone’s getting pretty tired of hearing about my head, though. she twists the faintest of memories so seamlessly into floss. where’s the fun in lying about intimacy?
the reality is that i still think of you as bandaid and ointment when you’re closer to emaciated animal, or beaten path to elsewhere.
this was never supposed to be a metaphor for anything. i just wanted to love you. i just wanted to love you.
THE COFFEE SHOP ON ELMWOOD AVENUE DOESN’T MAKE ME CRY ANYMORE. have you been in there since last January? they took away our table, the one furthest away from everything. you’ve always had an affinity for distance, at least as long as I knew you. I wonder how many nights you’ve spent measuring the length between your hands and the nearest breakable thing. I wonder what you did when you realized how close they would always be to your chest.
I HAVEN’T DELETED YOUR NUMBER YET. I didn’t think I should give your name a place in my life anymore, no matter how insignificant, so its label consists of emojis. the origin of it, it meaning your name, comes from a river near israel, which I found out after a late night date with google and too many shots of nostalgia in my system. I’m going to visit it, someday. I’m going to find something beautiful in those letters again. you’ve already claimed so much space in me, you’re not allowed to take words too.
THERE IS NO WAY THAT
SOMETHING THIS SPOILED,
THIS FUCKING RANCID,
COULD HAVE BEEN
YOU NEVER DESERVED
THE POEMS I HAVE NEEDED
it didn’t snow today. David Mitchell has never been published. our hometown is currently uninhabitable due to unsafe conditions. my alternate self still believes that hands stitch you back together more often than they take you apart, and nobody wants to tell her the truth. so they don’t. she’s blissfully ignorant of the sound accompanying a dropped call, or how salty tears taste in the summertime. it’s eternally spring there, things are always growing.
IN THE UNIVERSE WHERE I NEVER LOVED YOU
none of my poems feel real. I don’t get published the first time or the second time because I don’t have to write for you. or about you. I’ve always confused the two of those things but in this world it doesn’t matter because all I’ve ever done is write for myself. not to say that IN THE UNIVERSE WHERE I LOVED YOU I haven’t been writing for myself. I have been. I’ve just needed to share that title, like waking up with next to no blanket due to the selfish cloud of past lovers taking up space at the foot of my bed. I know there’s warmth for me here.
IN THE UNIVERSE WHERE I NEVER LOVED YOU
I don’t know how to spell your last name because I’ve never had a reason to write it. cursive is obsolete. nobody tells me what school you go to & this fact doesn’t mean anything to me because you never meant anything to me. we wind up at the same bar some night and I don’t recognize you. you don’t recognize me. nobody is suffering because of this. we go on to live lives comfortably uncrossed. sometimes that’s possible. IN THE UNIVERSE WHERE I ALMOST LOVED YOU I can’t say the same. but that’s another story for another page in another journal. all of this to say that
IN THE UNIVERSE WHERE I LOVED YOU
I’m writing this poem and it doesn’t hurt. it takes me two days, a glass of boxed wine, and three different sweaters, but it doesn’t hurt. it doesn’t hurt. it doesn’t hurt.
If a friend calls out to you late at night from beneath your window Never send him on his way. And if you’ve sent him away and still Insist on rigid rules, regain your composure after a moment And run to the window and shout his name: “Come, Merhav! Come back! I’ve got some corn cooking! Come eat something.” And he’ll placidly retrace his steps and gladly accept The key you toss down from your window, Will come upstairs to the first floor and will be impressed By the large pictures on the walls. He’ll sit and wait for you to slip into a clean shirt and you’ll put on The movie in the kid’s room and your baby daughter Will rush to the kitchen and come back with a red pepper for him. He’ll decline the warm corn and say he’s already had dinner. In the meantime your husband will chat with him about Tai Chi And pour him a glass of cold sweet pineapple juice. You’ll return to the living room And go out to the balcony and light a cigarette and sip A cold beer. You don’t yet realize That this is a sublime moment in your life. One of the most sublime you’ll ever know.
Hagit Grossman trans. Benjamin Balint in The New Yorker, February 8, 2016
recovery is the calm after the storm when you aren’t sure if it’s going to rain again when you’re still anticipating impending destruction it is the stillness in the air that almost feels wrong it is the quiet that sounds deafening because of the loud you’ve gotten used to it is a foreign peace because you’ve gotten used to everything being in chaos it is the sun shining even when everything around you is still in shambles and it feels so out of place and it’s almost as if it wasn’t meant to be but it was recovery is a new beginning not an ending
always the empty / always the waiting
to be filled / always the only feeling
needed when you’re full /
the needing to be full /
always the waiting / the waiting /
the waiting / the last boy you held
cried while he was inside
you / it didn’t matter what time it was /
it was too late and / he was all dial tone /
all sweaty hands and unease / you only
needed ever needed him to be there
and the first time a girl came giggling,
grinning onto your end of the street / your
foundation stood steady so she had a
solid place to fall / to spend the night /
to be safe for a while
you only ever needed to be needed /
only ever needed to be full / so
when a rough handed man barrels in /
takes up too much of your space / smells
like cheap rum and rain / you let him
grip everything a little too tight /
you let him mumble about his wife / and
you let him take what he needs / you
let them all take what they need
it’s always the empty again / always
the streetlights / the rain flooding the
pavement / always the waiting for
someone else / the waiting to be filled /
waiting to be full / always the empty / the
empty / always the waiting / the waiting /
the waiting / THE WAITING / THE WAITING /
THE WAITING / THE WAITING
Do not think I am not grateful for your small kindness to me. I like small kindnesses. In fact I actually prefer them to the more substantial kindness, that is always eyeing you, like a large animal on a rug, until your whole life reduces to nothing but waking up morning after morning cramped, and the bright sun shining on its tusks.
She is the vessels on the table before her: the copper pot tipped toward us, the white pitcher clutched in her hand, the black one edged in red and upside down. Bent over, she is the mortar and the pestle at rest in the mortar—still angled in its posture of use. She is the stack of bowls and the bulb of garlic beside it, the basket hung by a nail on the wall and the white cloth bundled in it, the rag in the foreground recalling her hand. She’s the stain on the wall the size of her shadow— the color of blood, the shape of a thumb. She is echo of Jesus at table, framed in the scene behind her: his white corona, her white cap. Listening, she leans into what she knows. Light falls on half her face.
I got this post together at the beginning of the month…and then never posted it from the Drafts. Whoops.
But! As you may know, April is National Poetry Month! And while it may be the last day of the month, it is still April! So now we have:
National Poetry Month: The GetBack Edition
Diggs may be known for his lightning-quick tongue in the music world, but before he found his niche in rap, he honed his writing skills with poetry. Granted, he likes to say he was a terrible poet, but…humble is as humble does.
Right after he left Hamilton, he hosted the Glam Slam Finals of Brave New Voices, where he got to showcase his spoken word skills on the stage.
Take a good look at the writing; it’s one of my favorite things that he’s done, quite honestly. I think it’s brilliant; I love the way he uses wordplay and metaphor, imagery and alliteration to speak his truth.
Chinaka’s a poet, playwright, & screenwriter, so she makes her living often with her written word. But if you’ve listened to The GetBack or even Watsky, you know how powerful her voice is, so now check out some of her spoken word, below.
But if you’re interested in her written word, she’s published a number of works. She’s powerful & eloquent, witty & wise. Her most recent collection, below, had me weeping poolside on my last vacation.
And then there’s this uber-talented fool, whose work has the easiest online accessibility. I’ve waxed poetic on his genius before and it all still bears repeating: he has a way with words that is stunning. Check out a number of his poems that he’s shared over the years, collected below:
Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill — more of each
than you have — inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
Time says ‘Let there be’
every moment and instantly
there is space and the radiance
of each bright galaxy.
And eyes beholding radiance.
And the gnats’ flickering dance.
And the seas’ expanse.
And death, and chance.
I am 32 years old and finally I look my age, if not more.
Is it a good face what’s no more a boy’s face? It seems fatter. And my hair, it’s stopped being curly. Is my nose big? The lips are the same. And the eyes, ah the eyes get better all the time. 32 and no wife, no baby; no baby hurts, but there’s lots of time. I don’t act silly any more. And because of it I have to hear from so-called friends: “You’ve changed. You used to be so crazy so great.” They are not comfortable with me when I’m serious. Let them go to the Radio City Music Hall. 32; saw all of Europe, met millions of people; was great for some, terrible for others. I remember my 31st year when I cried: “To think I may have to go another 31 years!” I don’t feel that way this birthday. I feel I want to be wise with white hair in a tall library in a deep chair by a fireplace. Another year in which I stole nothing. 8 years now and haven’t stole a thing! I stopped stealing! But I still lie at times, and still am shameless yet ashamed when it comes to asking for money. 32 years old and four hard real funny sad bad wonderful books of poetry —the world owes me a million dollars. I think I had a pretty weird 32 years. And it weren’t up to me, none of it. No choice of two roads; if there were, I don’t doubt I’d have chosen both. I like to think chance had it I play the bell. The clue, perhaps, is in my unabashed declaration: “I’m good example there’s such a thing as called soul.” I love poetry because it makes me love and presents me life. And of all the fires that die in me, there’s one burns like the sun; it might not make day my personal life, my association with people, or my behavior toward society, but it does tell me my soul has a shadow.
1. What To Do When You Run Into Somebody Beautiful In The Toothpaste Aisle And After Four Minutes Of Small Talk They Shake Your Hand And Ask For Your Name And You Realize For The First Time How Much Brown Eyes Remind You Of Being Submerged In A Swimming Pool
2. What To Do When You Can’t Stop Staring At Your Life Line For Two Hours Afterwards Because That Was More Tremor Than Shake And You’ve Never Lived Anywhere Other Than The Northeastern Region Of The United States So You’ve Never Been Taught How To Prepare For A Natural Disaster
3. What To Do If You Can’t Stop Staring At Their Lips While You’re On Your First Date Because Holy Shit Do They Look Soft And Holy Shit You’ve Never Done This Before And Holy Shit Holy Shit HOLY SHIT You’re Touching Their Mouth And Suddenly You’ve Discovered A Feeling That You Can’t Name For Fear Of Getting It Wrong And After One Week Of Text Messages And One Drugstore Aisle Trick Of Fate You Already Know That You Can’t Get Something Like This Wrong
4. What To Do When You’re In Their Apartment And It Smells Like Vanilla And Empty Seltzer Cans Are Lined Up On A Trunk-Turned-Into-Coffee-Table Like Chess Pieces And You Think Maybe Your Chest Is Splitting Open By How Much You Want Them To Need You And How Soft Their Hands Feel Against Your Face In The Darkness Of Their Living Room On The Fabric Of Their Sofa
5. What To Do When The Ache Turns To Fire And Their Teeth On Your Earlobe Only Feeds The Flames And You Want To Ask Them How Many People They’ve Kissed But You Also Don’t Want To Know Because It’s Not Like You’ll Be The Best They’ve Ever Had Since The Closest You’ve Come To Heat Like This Is The House Fire In Your Abdomen But Maybe You Could Be The Most Tender Heart They’ve Ever Held And That Could Be Just As Good
6. What To Do When You Sleep In Their Bed For The First Time And They Snore Into Your Hair And Pull You CloserCloserCloser And You Get The Best Night’s Sleep You’ve Ever Had Because Instead Of Wiping Tears From Your Face You Spent The Night Being Wanted And This Isn’t The Unnamable Feeling But You’re Sneaking Up On It And It Tastes Like Sugar
7. What To Do When You Can’t Stop Looking At The Red Marks On Your Neck Because They Remind You Of Last Night And How They Told You That You Smelled Nice So During Latin Class You Bought Four Bottles Of That Perfume You Were Wearing So That They Might Say It To You Again And Then You Get Out Your Phone And Check Your Collarbones Again And Shudder Until You Make Yourself Cold To The Touch
8. What To Do When You Trust Them Enough To Not Take Advantage Of Your Gentleness And You Remember That At This Time Last Year You Were Pining After Somebody That Didn’t Know How To Love And Now You’re Waking Up Next To A Person That Tells You You’re Worthy Of Compassion And Gives You Goosebumps Whenever They Run Their Fingertips Across Your Bare Skin And You Don’t Understand How Anything Could Be Better There Is No Way Anything Is Better Than This
9. What To Do When You Realize That No Matter How Complimentary Your Bodies Are When Pressed Up Against Each Other It Will Never Be To The Extent That You Want It To Be Which Is Another Way Of Saying You Were So Busy Daydreaming About The Possibility Of Being Needed That You Didn’t Realize You Had All Of This Demand Laying Dormant Inside Of You Until They Placed Their Lips To Your Naked Shoulder And Woke It Up
10. What To Do When You Know It’s Time To Be Your Own Person And Stop Looking In Translations To Confirm What You Already Know And You Come To A Revelation In The Middle Of The Mystery Section At Your Local Library That Maybe You Aren’t Supposed To Name The Feeling You Get When They Look At You
Names We Sing in Sleep & Anger Amaud Jamaul Johnson
Like fishermen at dusk, the soldiers returned
from war with stories slumped over their shoulders;
their fingers firm at the knot, the netting, thick
and tangled with the names of the dead.
None could explain how the flood of life all around
them escaped like water from between cupped hands,
how the bodies of men they loved began to crust
the earth like salt, how destruction danced slapdash
and unashamed everywhere, and still they survived.
When I came home from college proud, my educated
mouth agape, a tackle box of words, slick and glossy
and I saw the names of my friends, the young men
I fought with, learned to drink with, and left behind
Lil’ Rocc, Pumpkin, Ulysses, Junebug, Aghoster
names spray-painted throughout our neighborhood
in memoriam, I couldn’t understand how a god
could make one life possible and strip the world
clean of so many, or how, like high-watermarks
the dead remind the living of the coming of storms.
Written for @imsorrythings who recently said he’d never had a poem written for him until his friend @ren-c-leyn did (lovely!). I thought it a crying shame and that everyone should be written for more! Go check him out!
So we’re dust. In the meantime, my wife and I make the bed. Holding opposite edges of the sheet, we raise it, billowing, then pull it tight, measuring by eye as it falls into alignment between us. We tug, fold, tuck. And if I’m lucky, she’ll remember a recent dream and tell me.
One day we’ll lie down and not get up. One day, all we guard will be surrendered.
Until then, we’ll go on learning to recognize what we love, and what it takes to tend what isn’t for our having. So often, fear has led me to abandon what I know I must relinquish in time. But for the moment, I’ll listen to her dream, and she to mine, our mutual hearing calling more and more detail into the light of a joint and fragile keeping.
prompts for april, a.k.a. national poetry writing month! tag #useraya in the first five tags, @ me in the body of the post, or message me a link. you can combine these, do these in any order, and do as many as you want. (also check out my daily national poetry month recs!)
I never thought I would actually get married, but here I am, standing at an alter before all of you.
You see, I never believed in “love at first sight” or any of that really, I mean sure I’ve thought about a wedding, but I never thought it would actually happen.
Well dear, here we are. You and I used to joke around all the time about getting married, since we are the only ones able to put up with each other’s shit. We’ve been doing it for a long time now, guess it’s fitting for it to be us.
When we first met we were two awkward kids, and now? We’re two awkward adults, somethings never actually change.
Falling in love with you was a slow progression, it didn’t happen all at once, over time I just realized that you were the one I wanted to annoy for the rest of my life.
So here I stand, I promise I will annoy you for the rest of our lives, I promise you will always be my best friend first before anything, I promise you I will always love you, even when your sick and grumpy. I promise you I will always listen to your rants, and I will try to learn about things that are important to you, I promise you to be your rock, and to try to make your bad days a little brighter. I promise to never change my annoying laugh that you love to mock. I promise to always be your car karaoke buddy, and to be your plus one for all your work things, even if I do hate going to them. Above all, I promise you to change and grow with you, and I promise to stand by your side, on good days, on bad days, and on days where you don’t want to be loved.
Future Wedding Vows That Hopefully One Day Will Be For You// Thank you to @shinycherryblossomtree this was SUCH a challenge, but I loved it.
You have it in your best interest to be infinitely tender
1. The lights are on dim, Himalayan salt lamp orange. I’m telling you that if you lick it it tastes like salt but really I just want to see what a lake of dawning sun does to your face.
2. You give my plant a name, laugh at my new-found attachment and with soil on our hands help me with funeral rites a week later.
3. Twilight, and the way you make the walk home feel a good stretch of liminal, the way we say things we’ve been meaning to put names to for weeks, the sharing of hands and of weight and the way I can recognise you blind at the end of all nights, by smell alone.
4. She turns the glow bug lights on in my room before she goes to sleep so that I never have to come to bed in darkness. It’s her way of still holding her babies tight.
5. I sling my arm around your shoulder for safe keeping because my heart is probably on my sleeve and it might not boomerang back if I hold it at arms length. And the shoulder on shoulder is a soft place whilst we dance in a circle made of people we named home. I hold the moment completely still, knowing that I’m going to live forever looking for moments like this again.
6. You sit in front of me on the bus and your earphones give off a soft beat but it’s from the way your shoulders sit that I know the world is somehow heavy spinning there. So I reach over, have never been able to stop myself, it’s cold you see, and even when you’ve got darkness on your tongue there still seems to be a trembling sunlight out your hair. I draw a smiley face on the window beside you, watch you see it, and see the bad things hold you back from turning round. As compensation you draw something much cruder on the window beside my own head. And the bus changes colour when you smile because I use my middle finger to wipe the fog off the window before anyone else can disapprove. You turn back but I can see your reflection now and you bite your lip to stop it before it comes out of you like a lighthouse.
7. Your hands on the soft parts of my back is a comfort that came against my will, turned into wanting, unconditionally careful. This is how you rise the goosebumps, this is how you turned me to silk, how you were safer than sleep, 10 times as beautiful, a breath down the back of my neck, the tingling. You hold your hand out, I look up to clear sky eyes watching through strands of hair, the way we both think we’re guarded when we lay here so open armed. I take the moment, hold your knuckles to my heart, trace your jawline, feel you swallow and then get distracted by your mouth.
on our second date he tells me about his sweet tooth. about how the last twelve months have been all sugar and cold pillows and trying to forget about what he found in the ashes. one week later engulfed in grey sheets I show him the softness of my belly and the birthmark on my ribs and do my best impression of something warm. something you want to devour again and again.
I’ve never been one for dessert.
the word “more” has never been a shape my lips have been comfortable forming.
I guess that what I’m getting at is
most of the time
I chew up potential lovers like a piece of supermarket gum
but I reach for him the way you reach for the second piece of cake.