In the unkindness of the mirror, I think I want to kill myself but instead decide to dye my hair

Because our hearts weren’t
big enough to be wombs, we worked
on making them hard
enough to be fists : weapons
to strangle our ghosts,

the ones we thought
we had left in the last life,
or at the bar, or sunk
in the bed of the James.

but we didn’t leave them :
we carried them; being
ghosts, they weighed
so little we could pretend
we didn’t mind. and maybe

we didn’t– because maybe
we half wished
to become ghosts ourselves,
see the air squeeze
from our bodies, live
a little too close to the edge;

feel the rush, then the plunge,
then the dark // but we didn’t.
we stepped back, took up
our day jobs, ran fingertips
over the callus of our hearts and settled

back into the hum, feeling
for the next cut to spread
ourselves open
& up to the light, seeking
applause for our brokenness,
a new way in, a new outlook, our next ghost.



i have this habit
of uncomfortable truths,
wear it over my day clothes
with a crown of cactus blooms so
as with the desert or a novice no
one can get close
enough to discover
the possibility of my
beauty without
risk of heat
stroke or eternal


these insatiate old thoughts
demand justice for their restlessness;
they are the demons i keep lashed tight
inside my fists and the early-morning dreams
i refuse to voice on paper;
an unbridled verse
wrapped up inside all the pretty words;
a vengeance
for all that ever died quietly
but was not at peace.

running nearly barefoot through the semidarkness,
they clamor in my chest
out of time with my heartbeat,
stumble over roots as they dig down deep,
truths as they reach skyward.
goosefleshed and bitten, their heels as they fly
are soaked through with dew or
something more sinister;
like you, they desire only that i would be more clear.