there’s a neon light that filters through the slats in the blinds, making little spotlights in the dark. it’s like they’re looking for you. your fingers grip the edge of the bed. the dark circles under your eyes look like they’re melting, a pair of surrealist clocks made of nightmares. you take another shuddering breath, pretend there aren’t knives in your lungs or gravel in your throat. tomorrow you’ll get dressed, go to the nearest place with a ‘help wanted’ sign, and you will start again. and when that first paycheck comes, you will burn these paper spectres from your memory with the matchsticks in your ribcage.
she touches her lips and wonders at them, another hand resting over her belly. there are flowers blooming there she did not know existed until one day she took a knife and cut herself open just to see what she was made of. surprised she watched as dusky soft petals unfurled themselves to greet the sun they’d been so long denied.
they are still growing and on some days they choke her throat with something like sadness, her eyes watering as it washes over her. this pain is her redemption as she finally lets grow what should have been in the first place and she greets each new bloom with a soft kiss.
perhaps in time she will be a garden and in it she will find healing.
my chest is a cathedral with arches for ribs my heart at the altar pounding away at the keys to the organ, its pipes filling me with a song the aria rising to the top of the dome to kiss the angels painted there
It’s Friday evening and it smells like thunderstorms. The palm trees creak above our heads, dry leaves rattling like snakes in the desert heat. Even as the sun sinks behind the mountains, the concrete around us gives off so much heat it’s like having a second sun. I close my eyes for a moment. Listen.
Behind the noise of the palm trees are the birds as they settle in for the night. It might be cooler now but the sun is going and they won’t be able to see. I almost feel bad for them. A full day of foraging wasted, grounded due to the mirage-inducing, oven-baked temperature. My toes dip into the pool in front of me. There’s the taste of lime on my lips, the remnants of a paleta I was eating a few moments before.
When I open my eyes again, the sun is just a sliver peeking over the ridge. Clouds have covered half the sky to the east, a heavy purple, pink just outlining the edges. I wait for a clap of thunder somewhere in the distance. I’m disappointed. The rain isn’t coming for us today and I have better things to do than wait.
my skin / blisters under the heat of your / anger, burning like ethanol, blue-hot. / nobody can see it. / and your hands / kerosene / leave scorch marks /on my body / pull ragged breaths / and pained screams from / the depths of my soul. / it sets my lungs on fire. /can’t you hear them? / or have the flames / drowned them out?