At night, I sit by a bridge.
Watch coloured lights ripple
in the water. I am drinking
juice. My friend has two bottles
of beer. She tells me that happiness
is balancing on a knife’s edge:
you are always waiting
for the cut that follows the fall.
I watch my friend as she places one foot
in front of the other, arms extended,
knees wobbly, looking like the most
novice of tightrope walkers.
I imagine her smiling. Living up
a tower with books and cakes and wine.
Here, she doesn’t need to grow her hair long.
Handles her things with toddler fingers.
A beautiful boy kisses her and she knows
he loves her. It is a very long way down
the tower. Her cheeks are beginning to hurt.
A voice in her head tells her that she does not
deserve this. Wonders how her blood would look,
pooling. Sitting by her window, she slips.
While she tumbles down she tells herself
that she meant to fall.

On the bridge,
I do not understand this. Out of her tower,
there are too many goblins and ghouls
and snakes who sleep easy at night.
Who glow brighter than us. I want to shake her.
Tell her that there will always be others eager
to steal your portion of the cake that
life gives you on the platter. That not everyone
gets cake. For someone supposedly
articulate, my words keep failing.
I finish my juice. Watch my friend crack
open her second bottle of beer. Promise
myself to always take the fucking cake.



For years I have dreamt of teeth:
stunted roots scratching a probing tongue
gently loosening bloody gums, and
mouth agape, watching them spill out
on the floor like a tray of yellowed pearls.
Last night I spat out again the hard seeds
that crowded my mouth only this time
they were nuggets of diamond and gold
falling on the floor to glitter in the sun
leaving my teeth in my mouth, whole.
I woke wondering what this meant.
If I was finally doing something right.


More than once the silence the naked boy on rumpled sheets who looks at me with wide rabbit eyes while I continue stroking skin pretending not to notice his sudden stiffness wondering how is it that those easy words weigh heavier than lost sleep and borrowed books and handwritten letters and twisting tongues why is love where the line is always drawn and when will I hear it back in return.


You sit in a chair to get your first tattoo and your heart is drumming a tattoo against your ribs and your spine wishes you would tattoo a line across your back so that it knows how to stay straight and your wrists say to tattoo the shape of a boy’s fingers on them so you never forget the marks he made whenever he clutched you and your hands want to be washed in ink for the way that one liked to kiss them and you want all their names tattooed between your thighs because that was the only thing they liked about you so your childhood dream of love wrapping you tightly can go over your lungs and you say you want your knees tattooed the colour of flesh so no one will see when they are bruised you say you want wings too tattoo those over your back now you sit for days feeling the needle sliding in under skin and when you go home your skin covered in birds and lost loves and other things undying you say ma look at all my tattoos now you can’t say it’s all just in my head and your mother screams how could you do this to yourself don’t you know that tattoos never come off and you laugh and you cry and you say that’s the point ma that’s the point.

The first time I saw my parents
holding hands, I was twenty-three.
Twenty-three years of bare bone arms
wishing for flesh to be buried in,
of fleeing from hugs from giggling pinafored schoolmates,
of family photos where we stand so far apart
you could line up all the bones and organs
in the human body and still not cover
the spaces between us,
to nights spent tussling and biting
between twisted sheets, always
blaming that childhood lack so I never
knew how to be gentle and then
to suddenly see well-worn fingers twining
like lovers, as tender as newborn skin
my breath left itself in my throat and forgot
how to make its way out.

I liked the prompt so much I did it again.  Still needs a title.
Write a poem about an unexpected desire, yours or witnessed.
#EndOfDaysBonus – Relate it to 2017.
#ANewHopeBonus – Relate it to 2018.

For All The Boys Who Could Only Want Me

When you lie on your back, eyes closed and I snake my fingers and tongue into your flesh, I always think of you calling me by the wrong name. It never happens, but my own name remains a small shaking animal in your mouth, afraid of those who might hear it squeak. Alone, I sit in the dark and look at your photos on a screen. Imagine what it must have been like to run fingers through long hair and soft skin. Something inside of me clenches, then blooms as I imagine sighs in another voice, one softer, sweeter. When I think of love I can only see you holding her in your arms.

Write a poem about an unexpected desire, yours or witnessed.
#EndOfDaysBonus – Relate it to 2017.
#ANewHopeBonus – Relate it to 2018.
For All The Boys Who Could Only Want Me

I wonder what you were thinking the night you kissed me. What you were looking for. If my lips were as inviting as another cold can of beer. If I was wine, something you wanted to suck between clenched teeth, held on just a little longer in your mouth so you could tell yourself you cared for what you tasted. If I was just a quiet pool you could drown yourself in.

I am too afraid to ask. All I know is that when your lips meant mine, I thought it like standing in the heart of a dying star. How very bright and warm it all is. And after the flames had burnt themselves out, how very lonely.