that wasn’t a 4way stop

The heat makes me remember you. And I hate that I remember you.



Why do ghosts haunt?
Did you leave something behind?
Was it a shred of
for a night too dark for words
and a desperation
too palpable to ignore?
Yours or mine?
I despise the trace you left

I Believe

I remember the marble
the pressed stone
the waxy glow
circles and circles
above me

I was a child here
I was a lover here
without a family
without a tower

Worn wood beneath
trembling thighs
as I searched
blurry-eyed and broken
across the pews
for the one to whom
all my letters
had been addressed

Nameless. Viceless. Flawless.
Dark. Murderous. Perfectly Ruined.
My mistake. My lonely, twisted King.

You were never in that
goddamned church
You were across the water
a bridge away
hating yourself
for falling in love
with a fairy tale

How was it, then,
that I came to hold you?
Arms tight
a shield against the danger
The scent of heartache
heavy in the trembling air
as vibrato and memory
stretched together
to form this
penitent pair
on the floor
of the cathedral


But it’s cold, isn’t it
as it should it be
this degradation
this unholiest of assumptions
You. Do. Not. Know. Me.
You. Do. Not. Care. To. Know. Me.
You write me off with your
upper class fountain pen
convinced that all I am
is a lie
What? That’s not
what I’m saying.
Oh, but you scream it
with your disinvitation
the unwelcome chill in your eyes
You don’t show me a smile
You show me a grimace
But they see the authority
and never question that maybe
just maybe you can be
That step has always been there
I know because I’ve been that step
that is never swept
and hardly acknowledged
but you wouldn’t reach the door
if it weren’t for that
god’s damned step
But I’m all she needs
But I’m all she needs
Who’s the liar now.


I don’t mind chains, girl.  But I didn’t want to be chained.  I held onto that leather and I tried.  I tightened the knots and I tried.  But you needed more and I’m not condemning you for that.  So don’t condemn me if I don’t want all that blood.  I let it go, you know.  I let so much go, and you still vilified me because I wanted something else.  How much can we take?  What about all that joy?  Wasn’t there joy?  Or was it a knight rescuing the damsel?  Did the knight know that the damsel jumped off of that high tower?  Is that fair?  Does it make me a monster if I temper my feelings into syntax?  You said I was dead inside because I didn’t argue.  What’s the point if it’s one-sided?  Why demand when I’ve already given everything?  You’ve turned the gun on me, you fool, and who told you how to remove the safety?  ME.  Because I wanted to save you.  It didn’t occur to me that I was doing it at the expense of my own happiness.  I hate that I’m angry with myself.  I should’ve known that I wasn’t helping.  But things were easy until the sun came up and shed light on all the shadows.  I had my own bag of skeletons.  I wasn’t immaculate.  But we both had to try, and I couldn’t push anymore.  So stop pushing back.


And then it changed
the game
It stopped and
broken gates and
buried secrets

These anvils on your soul
Your name
A prayer
exhaled with conviction
arms like pillars of a city
that fell for you
hold you so tight
and ward away the crane flies
the blind assumptions
the labels
the ghosts

She would kill it all for you
a massacre for a memory
penned to a playwright’s sister
whose life was spent being

These pillars won’t crumble
These pillars won’t break
The glass locket holding a dream
will never shatter in this place
Shards of shame fall down your face
onto this neck, this chest
But they can’t cut
this diamond armor

Do you know that she shines
only for you?
The salt and the element
faint slowly onto the transparency
of her breast plate

(You’re the only one who’s ever seen right through her.)

“Let go,” she says, “it’s poison”
And it all comes surging out
the infection, the toxin, the insecurity
these drops of disease mix with
the salt of your skin
and turn into clay
and flesh out the facets of her protection

And now when people look at her
They’ll have to see you
for this is where you’re kept
in this cage of marrow
and sinew
and electricity

You’ve brought her to life
this weary wolf
who spent so many grains of sand
changing who she was
And gods, for WHAT?
A nod?
A shrug of acceptance?
An acknowledgement of existence?

She wasn’t dead
She was only asleep

The tears spark her humanity
and she blossoms out of the ground
(That dirt wasn’t good anyway)
But she doesn’t reach for the sun
She bends to the moon
And these pillars
this mad, mad architecture
It was all built by


This gnawing sense of…
Is it urgency?
And does it collapse like
so many cards
on the table?
But I don’t know the rules, dear Prince
Worship has never suited me this well
So deep
Fingers reaching for
solace and summer
and finding a wet hot solstice
at the center of it all
Can you feel that, dear Prince?
That rush of
thinner than lava
but just as warm
burning composites of
rock (shield)
and dirt (shrapnel)
A train of fire
scorching the track
bisecting Jekyll from Hyde
This monster
feels beautiful sometimes
when you’re inside her