my shampoo smells like the incense you found in west virginia—shooting star, it was called— so i never really forget i am burning. i am not a star, though. i am not propelling myself far from here in a show of light and misplaced time. i am just on fire until i am not, and then i will be ash.
the loneliest piece of fruit
i want to scream to the world, sometimes, that not being in love really isn’t that bad. my voice isn’t thick enough to break through this canvas yet, though. for now i am still the girl you painted. i guess that is supposed to make me feel lucky.
mostly it just makes me feel used.
and this is not the first time i have been plastered down with oil paint. years go by, but i always look the same. the smallest peach in the bowl of fruit wearing the biggest bruise.
i want to scream to the world, always, that i’m sorry. i didn’t choose to be this soft.
this is how i remember it
number one: i ask you why your favorite color is green. you ignore the question and instead begin to tell me a story of when you were younger, of the farm you lived on in that small town in italy. i give you my full attention. i nod when i feel i should, i respond when timing aligns. what i dont say is when i leave, i will close my eyes as i drive past the field down the street.
what i dont say is the first boy i was ever sure i loved had green eyes so bright i was scared one day theyd burn out. i dont tell you about the day they did. i dont tell you about how i had to watch, how i could not do anything but watch.
i dont tell you about december and how hard it was. i dont tell you about the way he told me he loved me and proved it with a grip so tight i could not see straight. i do not bring up all the trouble this tunnel vision got me in. or how long i was holding my breath.
i dont tell you about the streetlight and the way it was just bright enough for me to make out the green irises in the man before me, shell shocked and defensive like his own breed of cacti. i dont tell you why i will always remember him as a form of cacti. how he will always be a freaking thorn in my side, how just because you cant see it doesnt mean it was never there-- i do not tell you this is not italy.
this is not your perfect small town.
this is emptiness.
this is what broken looks like.
if you bend down to feel the grass in your backyard, the blades will slice your fingers.
i keep this all hidden beneath my tongue and when your story is over, i ask you again, why your favorite color is green. why you cant see the destruction hidden in its hues. you smile. you just smile and something in me breaks.