overgrown children

it feels the same as it always did
when we come back to each other

like overgrown children visiting
home, you vacation inside me
to remind yourself who you are

we touch by habit, moans
echoing against my chest
as desperate as we were at sixteen

you trace the edges of my new
tattoo, wondering how many men
have seen it before you

jealousy leaves an aftertaste in your mouth,
you kiss it into my neck

afterwards, we lay unravelled
our clothes flirting in a pile by the door
wordless apologies spill out of our mouths

we tell ourselves this is the last time
only to fall asleep in each other’s arms

 

 

seventeen

my seventeen year old self is cocooned
in a new body that neither of us recognize
her bruises stain my skin from the inside out
like parasitic lovebites

i see her as an afterimage
a fever dream of half-ripe lust
sculpted in survival, coaxed into back-seats

i’m made of doorways, can never tell
if she’s coming or going
we’re stuck mid-heartbreak
over and over, almost, almost

love is poured down my throat twice a day
it smells like chanel but turns my tongue to ash
i swallow like cough medicine,
nauseous every night

i have what she always wanted
i’ve eaten her alive in the process

mothering myself though the winter
is an impossible task
and to say i’m homesick is ironic,
splintered across cities

these days, i feel my parents dreams
deep in my stomach
i’d rather vanish than leave them unfulfilled

i worry all that i have to pass on
are half-written poems and my phantom body
i worry my parents see themselves
when they look at me

and i’ve had the same nesting doll nightmare
four times this week
each time i wake in fetal position
an echo of childhood claws
her way out of me

weight is as much power as it is flesh
right now, i have neither

i’m made of butchered prayers
and growing pains
strangled in remembrance
talking to ghosts

 

leo sun

drinking gives me a superiority complex,
i blame it on my leo sun and aries moon

a boy with his beard half-connected
leans on our cracked coffee table,
he licks his lips between sentences
and asks me if i actually believe in astrology

black crop tops and ripped jeans blur together
i wonder how many of us will be mothers,
how many of us will feel loved

i’ve had the same conversation with
six people tonight
i’m everyone around me
i’m worse

there’s too much human noise in this room
heartbeats crash into each other, i feel
our collisions in the floorboards
liquor makes ghosts of us all

i realize i’m holding my own breath
i realize i’m the only coloured person here
i realize i’m wearing my own skin
and want to change outfits

the work of a critic is easy, the work of a lover
is impossible, i’m both all at once

 

HEADER IMAGE ILLUSTRATOR: Sadie Levine

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THE MINDS BEHIND MUSE XXIII