All the poems I’ve been writing lately are either
apologies or confessions or ways to negotiate
with the demons inside by laying myself out naked
and seeing which part of me they’d like
as a sacrifice.
Last year they took my lungs.
The year before, my mind.
I blame my childhood epilepsy on an earthquake
that I stole from San Francisco,
and ever since I’ve tremor-proofed my bones
so that each heartbeat doesn’t break me
during the night.
The other day I told someone that I never meant
to save a life with my poem.
All of these are just ways to keep my own soul away
from its noose.
I know what it’s like to try to give yourself
when you’ve drowned in the pool of your skin,
and I know what it’s like to want to scream out
only to realize that you’re out in an ocean
that everyone has heard of but no one
knows to name.
I’m writing this now because everyone’s sadness is a different story
and people keep mistaking theirs for something more beautiful
But if you cradle your heartbreak between your palms —
if you whisper to it, coddle it,
let it grow and suckle on your breasts,
all you’re doing is giving life to something
that’ll slowly destroy you.
All you’re doing is bringing glow to its cheeks
and making its eyes brighter,
while yours dim,
Don’t hold sadness against you like you’ve given
birth to something beautiful. Don’t let it
hang onto your neck and kiss the soft spot underneath
your chin, while you, in turn, reconsider the validity of the
bridge signs that tell you Please.
Life is worth living.
Because everyone is breaking in a way I can’t understand”
and the most I can do is unravel my skin slowly
and slowly and slowly
and weave it into something
that I can wrap around another human being
when the nights are too dark
for them to see the whites of their own eyes.