the almost feeling

I’ll lap the tears from your hot, swollen cheek

Drink your sorrow; taste your salt

Feel your stubble on my tongue

And I’ll thank you for your service, sir

 

When you feel something

I almost feel something

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bourbon

The cornstalks swayed in the gentle breeze, their sharp leaves stirring

Much taller than knee-high at the dawn of July

And that was the day that we first tried whisky, our dull minds blurring

And that was the night that you first kissed me

You kissed me

Your mouth was wet like Illinois air, your tongue was burning

Much hotter than the bourbon at the back of my throat

And that was the moment I would remember, our dull minds blurring

And that was the feeling that would haunt me

You haunt me

 

 

 

 

I once burnt a hole in a waiting room floor.

.

.

.

My body curled into itself: a cocoon of my coat, my unkempt hair, and the thin, fragile fabric of the blankets we found in an unwelcoming closet. One fluorescent light refused to fade, and when I inhaled—in though my nose, out through my mouth—the air was stale. It was cold, but somewhere deep inside my chest, a fire burned. The tiles beneath me charred.

As the night rolled over me, turning from late to very late to very early, my mind went to a place that was in-between—not awake but far from asleep. Thoughts without emotions attached emerged and dispersed in a sort of numb chaos: What did mom eat today? What was this flat pillow made of? Who designed this waiting room?

Why was it so cold in here?

That thought alone acted like a hook, one which tugged me reluctantly further away from the haze of the in-between. I became aware of how cold my nose was, of how I could not feel my fingers as they curled around the collar of my coat. I recognized that the fire burning in my chest, a heat which seemed to scorch the floor yet failed to keep me warm, was probably a fever. And I thought of you and how uncomfortable you must be, a coldness much deeper than this being forced under your skin; and I wondered if you too had a fire smoldering somewhere deep inside your chest, one that didn’t reach your hands; and I realized then, in this in-between state—in this place, with ice in my fingers and flames licking at my ribs—that this was the closest I would ever be to you again.

.

.

.

I once burnt a hole in a waiting room floor.

tripping backwards

The day I left was the day I fell

Tripping backwards into a sunset 

Where the colors were too intense

 

Scarlet scoured my skin, scalding 

Violent Violets left a sharp taste on my tongue 

And Cobalt crawled across my cresting spine 

 

I was pulled apart by stars 

Such curious beauty

Such furious beauty 

walking

I’ve been kissing the clouds and singing songs to sunsets

Walking; wandering

Straying from home after dark

 

I’ve been talking to trees and begging words from saplings

Walking; wandering

Keeping my mind off of you

for you

I carved out a space for you

In my chest, between my ribs

I scraped it clean using my hands

There’s still skin under my nails

And blood wet and vibrant on my palms

 

I carved out a space for you

In my heart, between two beats

I made it nice and lit a candle

It’s warm here beneath the glow

And soft and loving in the center

 

I carved out a space for you

In my head, between these thoughts

I wiped them down with my cotton sleeves

There’s a sparkle to them now

All glistening wonder

All for you

the in between

This is the hard part.

There’s the idea of you, so solid and strong in my mind… although, if I am being honest, that did not come about as simply as it sounds. You were first one notion and then another (which is fine, because that first notion was rather weak, I’m afraid), and then yet another version of the first before you shifted to a third; and you circled around my head as this alien, amorphous entity that changed so quickly I could not pin you down long enough to scratch your outline into my sketchbook. But then, quite suddenly, you lit up. Gleaming like the metaphorical light bulb that is the most welcome sight of all, and I fell in love with you.

So now I have you, in my mind. You are an X somewhere on a treasure map that has not yet been made. I’m working on that part – I have it all outlined, to the last detail – and while I’m sure to run into unforeseen turbulence along the way (would it be an adventure if I didn’t?), I know where I am going. Getting to you is inevitable; the only questions now are how long, how much, how long.

This is the hard part, you see.