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Memoirs of a Helium Balloon

sweet, sweet vengeance

5.2.2018

on cleaning out my closet

the wardrobe cannot contain the garden she planted on her body –

each cactus hair the result of kind words and a gently buried seedling,

forested on impulse.

i comb through the things she used to love – those daisy dresses, the herbal robes –

i realize now i am allergic to pollen, or thyme,

and i think that’s why she ate benadryl like candy,

and I think that’s why i am a dentist clutching a mouth full of rotting teeth,

the mouth of someone who chewed too much benadryl and forgot to brush,

the mouth of someone too afraid to smile

(and so had never noticed).

and once i remove the ones too full of holes to be of use to anybody,

the rest are too big to fit,

too crooked for such a polite mouth,

too clumsy,

too full of quiet cancer.

and now i have no mask to wear besides her corpse,

heavy and bloated,

puffy-eyed,

rotting,

too full of holes to be of use to anybody.

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4.29.18

i will smoke my first cigarette

when it gets warm enough.

i will watch grey wisps make circles around my fingers

when it gets warm enough.

and you will take a train into the city

when it gets warm enough.

you will buy a large cone of soft-serve

and lick vanilla ice cream dribbling down your chin,

laughing all the while –

when it gets warm enough.

and when it gets warm enough

you will love me.

and when it gets warm enough

you will cup my face in your palms and dig emotion out of my throat with your tongue.

and when it gets warm enough

you will walk me to the playground and push me on the swing.

and when it gets warm enough

we’ll stop crushing pills on my desk

we’ll open the shades and let hungry light consume this stagnant repulsion,

licking it up like vanilla ice cream.

and when it gets warm enough,

i will sleep at midnight, curled under a top sheet,

your arm draped over me,

and i will not beg you to leave.

and when it gets warm enough,

darling, i will stop treading water and swim to shore –

(but i do not remember the last time summer showed herself around these parts)

4.24.2018

you, a lover

when you fall in love with me

I will start breathing nicotine breaths and

dreading undrugged wakefulness.

you, smoking life through a thick pipe

and I, desperately grasping for fumes.

you speak too quickly for my tired brain.

maybe if i inhaled something other than bruises and broken jaws I would understand the language you use to tuck me in at night,

you, softly plucked guitar strings and scrambled-egg voice,

I, a broken amp spitting out static.

you dream of me suffocating you

with spindle fingers or plastic bags or

the razors you used to spell out our initials.

you. you, you, you, a vegetarian who aches, oh how you ache for my blood.

I, a masochist, a corpse.

when you fall in love with me

I will contemplate how best to die under your calloused fingertips

how best to make this massive body invisible.

you, with X-ray glasses and a soft hand,

I, a half-finished book abandoned near the windowsill.

4.21.2018

we could love like soft like woman like

painted toenails

like

hair balled up in fists

like

bouquets of wet flowers

like

dresses collecting dust in my closet

do you dream of an in between like me like

smack in the middle of a book

like

almost warm but still cold

like

a boy who doesnt look like one

would you still love me if I became a real boy

like

trading my legs for forests

like

swallowing apples whole

like

growling out giggles

like

dry and harsh and heavy

like

but im not a real boy with my painted nails and dogeared pages and dresses too ghost for wearing and too human for the donation box

the roast beef on your hoagie

do you crave beef, you vegetarian?

we could love like two men holding hands holding my naked head in your chest

like

a woman’s eyes are looking back at you

4.20.2018

cartography

and when you said you needed a red pen

i said

don’t worry I’ll unzip my veins and give you mine.

and when you said you forgot your notebook

i let you etch notes into the skin of my back with a blade wrenched from a pencil sharpener.

i wondered how late you stayed up studying notes on other boys’ bodies

when their bare backs peeked out from beneath your blankets –

how meticulously you memorized the map of their muscles, their veins,

how many of theirs matched my north-star crater

and if you even remembered it,

as if it had never guided you to my sweet, gaping vulva,

as if you didn’t dream of the valleys along my spine in biology class.

this morning

i watched you scribble out my tearstained name with red ink

on another boy’s back.

12.5.2017

say i’m a gun

say my gentle words are bullets;

say i’m a gun.

say i chew men up like bubblegum, blow them, and stick them to the underside of this bus seat.

say men use me to hurt themselves.

say, “lift up your skirt, girl;”

watch me oblige.

watch me blow a bubble the size of jupiter.

watch me tug on your zipper,

castrate you the modern way,

leave you choking out the word “gun”

mixed with blood and spittle.

2.14.2017

Sudoku

My brain wakes me up cause I have something to say.
So in the morning can eat my poetry with milk
So I don’t skip a single eat.
Sudoku puzzles are a lot like poetry.
The numbers have a place
Just like the words’ purpose is to carve out my skin
Arranged in an eleven-by-eight box.
I dreamt in color for the first time in weeks
But waking up sick so I can’t eat my poetry with milk in the morning
(or at all)
So I guess I’ll do Sudoku puzzles instead.

2.13.2017

It’s OK to put a name to the pain
It’s safe to say I’m going insane
Those people who say I can never change
Everything I do is an act onstage
I am enraged.
One page out of line,
But I’m trying to find a way to get out of this cage –
I am not caged at all.
I am too free to fly free
Restrained in motion by my own emotions
A locomotive in the rain
Shave my skin of needles and pins
It’s strange to say I’m going insane
Insanity scribbles freedom on the page

2.12.2017

I change my hair every time a boy stops fucking me.
I shave the places he’s been,
Carve him out of my bones like turkey meat.
Trim the hair he’s brushed with combfingers,
Repaint the skin he claimed.
He slept in my bed last night, awake until 3 entertaining the idea of my genitalia –
It was not the first time he pleaded with my clitoris.
My brother hands me a flower and says, “This reminds me of you.”
He doesn’t know what they do to me.
I thought a bodycount made it easy to be loved.
How they tell people, “didn’t you know she swallows?”

I am too full to feel so empty.

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