At the Heart of it All

Hope is a suit of armor, hope is
gardenias in September, hope is
a candle burning every moment, hope is
ink and blood and promises screamed, hope is
a four letter word, your name on my skin,
hope is your whisper in my ear.



She cleans the bathroom, writing
princess stories in her head.
Write what you know, they say
but she thinks that’s a pretty bad
idea, what she knows is abuse and
bad brains, that fear hurts like
evisceration in the second before
you turn and spit in its face,
that ego and insecurities
are a match made in hell.

She scrubs and thinks that grim fairy tales
are what she knows, the ones where the
glass slippers are more likely to shatter
while you waltz, the broken bits shredding
your feet, leaving you trapped while you
bleed to death on the ballroom floor.

She wants to write about what she doesn’t
know, what life is like when it has a happy
beginning, how to live with hope instead of
monsters, what she could do with an ego born
of security instead of desperation to survive.

Pour La Mer

The mistake was
letting the words
loose, unruly little
bastards, once they
were set free
they climbed the
drapes and chased
the fish – my
Gods how they
chased that poor
fucker – and they
shredded the safety
gate, rendering it
useless to keep
out the very
thought of you.

You, who waited
patiently for the
right chance, to
knock on the
first door you
could find, all
to send a
message, the kind
that really should
have come in
a rum bottle,
but only came
with saltwater tears.
You who calls,
who crashes and
roars, who laps
the sand where
I sit, waiting.

L Words

I found you, located, you could say,
low-key lounging in your
library, and was I just lucky?
No matter, you still
looked happy to see me,
or was that simply
lightning in your pocket?
The smile on your face said
ledges, said lessons, said
licentious, leathery love, and
you may as well have put me on a
leash, lover-boy, I’m locked in, lambent
and longing among the shelves,
reading titles aloud like a lover’s litany:
Loyal, Lustral, Luminous, Loquacious.
You don’t need your legerdemain, love,
you can leave the ligatures loose,
I’m long lost in the lure of your
laughing, lacerated lips

The Box

Pandora paused,
I’m sure, but I
wonder: was it to
rethink the decision, to
question what might be
discovered and set free?
Or did she stop still and
suck in air merely to
prolong the moment of
exquisite anticipation?

I can’t help but think she
wanted to make it last, to
hold herself on the brink,
breath coming in short,
sharp gasps, taut and
trembling as she broke
the lock, the sound lost
in her cry of release.

For Sissy

Buds of hope
strewn across my
desk like stars
and I swear,
I’d give them
all to her
if I could,
if it would
tip the scales
in her favor,
if it would
help pick the
lock of her
jail cell. I’m
four years younger
but I’ve always
been older, wiser.
Stronger, even, and
I’d give that
to her as
well, if only
I could cut
through the bars
she thinks are
keeping her safe.