he rolls in
to waltz out
and out to
before i have
a chance to
whisper, i miss
risei will dig craters
into my arms so
i can spread them wide
and burn brighter than the
this is my dying,
autumnmy body thrives on the migration of
tree limbs and human hearts -
a golden fist clenches onto modicum
entrails, thrusting pollen up my throat
and into the air you breathe.
c r a c ki am the one.
not the one but the one -
that can't help but shatter everything
she touches, and my days are spent
ripping splinters from my skin
and wishing i could
on loving a girl who doesn't love herselfYou used to tell her that you’d accept the reminders, the dark shades running down and over the hill of her waist, the shadow of her wrist. Far from unlovable, you said. So far.
Grudgingly, you realized that you could not fix her. She was not a dismantled puzzle just waiting for you; she was her own brand of porcelain, one you didn’t know how to mold back together. She wasn’t breathing for you.
The moments of silence between you led to a longer period, those weeks when you went days without talking – and you didn’t know if you were supposed to be proud of her or cry.
Stargazed at each other’s words until the night came when you learned she wanted you to kiss her scars and make love to them as if they were her self. You laughed without humor and said, "I might as well kiss them with the fucking blade then." She said nothing.
When she discovered that you would love her and her body and her past – but wouldn’t trace the lines on her skin
insomniac?a lack of sleep
ugly & lionhearted -
( tearing holes in
the past and avulsions
through our future,
we've got impacted cracks
written on the walls of our house
& you never asked why
when i said i hated faithful
stalemates like you. )
- you've made these bones
so warm & cold,
unafraid to breathe in the bitterness of your
basiliskI was Snow White
sleep walking; see-through
eyelids colored with
broken crayons and
shards of charcoal.
(Dead Girl, dreaming.)
I am their princess-
fallen, shut out
because I am not
afraid to smile with
my teeth and dirty
my lips in blood.
wake me, Prince
me in the shadows
and we can breathe
my body is not a
corpse but a frame
trapped in time. I am
no sleeping beauty.
you are a
so come a
and kiss me
until my lungs
work once more.
I am a Dead Girl,
dreaming; of waking
scarlettmy momma's wedding dress was white like the light in her heart but two years turned to six and bitter turned to worse; here we are.
a question of enduranceI wonder if my heart
will ever grow tired
of its repetitive seizing,
will want more rest
than the scant pauses between
can afford it—
if I will be obliged
to draw it, glistening,
out of my chest, to
cradle it in my palm
like a bird, dark red and shuddering
in its wanton plumage—
if, when it is rested,
(its role in the mean time
having been supplied
by my opposite fist, or branches
of lungs, or sheer
force of will),
I will slip it back into its assigned
and feel it stutter into life again.
I wonder if the stain will remain
on my hand.
Stop Romanticizing Poets 2K14This is how I write my poems:
You’re blonde and you have blue eyes.
You’re the perfect subject for my next great hit,
a long rambling epic or a two page sonnet
which would start by comparing your hair
to rays of the sun and your eyes to the ocean
at daybreak. Even if you’re more of a dishwater blonde
than sun-colored, and your eyes are less ocean and
more sky, I swear I write this poem and think
vaguely of you.
But here is a secret: I’m not writing a poem about you.
I’m writing a poem about the idea of you.
And I don’t know if it will be a love poem or
a break-up poem or a “please don’t go home and
commit suicide” poem or one of those
heartbreakingly honest poems that feels like
you put your pencil on paper and bled.
I don’t write poems like that often.
No poet does, not really,
we write poems about you and your blue eyes
because we don’t like how bleeding feels,
and it is much safer for us to pretend to fall in l
a cure?they say Van Gogh
used to eat yellow paint
so that he could get
the happiness inside of him.
especially on nights like this,
I wonder if that would work.
I wonder if the pigment
would seep into my intestines:
would spread through my veins
like an elixir:
would curl and coil and cast
on every angle, every aspect
of my body.
I wonder if endless trials
and retrials of drugs
could be replaced by the
occasional dose of cadmium,
liquid sunshine, intangible dream
I swear I can almost
I wonder if it would do
than make me sick,
curled up on the bathroom floor
and left choking on a life
that I can never have.
To My Biology TextbookOn page 159 of my biology textbook, it reads,
“...cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells”
as though that could explain everything,
and I thought it did for a time.
But my textbook never warned me
that his skin would pale
to a point where I could see
the blue freight trains
carrying eighteen pills
throughout his frail body.
My textbook never warned me
that his watery irises would freeze over,
that he would hurl insults like knives,
and that he would clench his jaw
as tightly as his fist clenched his wine glass
because the only person to blame is himself,
and he can’t swallow that as easily
as he can the olives in his martinis.
And my textbook never warned me
that it would be this difficult to breathe
because of my acute awareness
that his breaths are limited,
and that there would be nothing I could do
but soldier on searching for that silver lining
clinging to these foreboding thunderheads.
my father lived in Indiamy father is a man of many colors.
on the nights when the moon stays asleep,
he lotions his palms with pomegranate juice.
the sugared blood pools in the creases of his
skin, staining it India’s red.
sometimes, my father scrubs his hands until
they are nothing but flesh & fruit rinds.
when he was younger—all skinned knees and pocket
knives—he must've slipped on a thousand marbles.
my father’s father was a welder who rolled and spun
steel into tiny spheres.
when he died, my father’s hands became blue and
free of pocket knives. to this day, he keeps a bag
of marbles on our mantle.
from time to time, he shakes the cool metal into
his open palms and waterfalls it back and forth.
see, this is the trouble with blue hands:
they never let go of the things that scar them.
they try so hard to be red again.
my father doesn't like whistling because
an old woman in India told him it was uncivilized.
she perched herself on the edge of the Ganges River
OsteophilicHe loved his bones.
The way they never asked too much of him
or protested his requests.
There was nothing superfluous in their design;
simple, sleek, and uncomplicated.
They were spry, robust
ready to take on the world with
sharp and fluid motions.
His bones were not brittle like she was.
Not so breakable or frail,
not so expendable.
They didn't bend under pressure
or fracture under stress.
He loved his bones -
their ivory purity eased his soul -
and he was proud of the way
they held everything together
She knew one day he'd stomp this
old flame out, long before 'death do us part.'
Cremation had never been part of the plan.
Things I would Tell Her--C.I want to tell her the things
I'll tell her when she’s older,
but the information terrifies her.
In order of importance:
she has luna moths in her head,
monarch butterflies in her stomach,
and a feral fetus in her womb.
are collapse-clasped and folded
in her lap;
she holds her elbows like wings
away from her ribs,
ready to flap,
I want to tell her
to keep one hand in her purse
so she can always find her keys,
to keep an eye on the door
and the door always open
so she can run if she doesn't feel safe,
but her cheeks are rorschach-splotch red
and the tension in her shoulders
warns me she's not ready
to hear this.
And there is the possibility that
maybe I’m not ready to tell
I’m just as devastated as her;
that she is surrounded by friends and family
who are violated by a community
where no man can say yes all men.
you're just a question marki met you so long ago
but back then our bodies were made of metal
and nowadays they’re made of the blades of
grass and dirt settling
underneath my fingernails.
my fingers are having a hard time
reaching the keys and
my organs are shaking mostly because i haven’t
eaten in two days but also
because i’m worried about the things you're doing to yourself.
we didn’t meet very long ago at all but it feels like forever ago
and you say you don’t know me
that you don’t know anyone
but baby you're turning into a skeleton and i’m peeling back my skin
to try and reach my bones, just like you.
i hope you're happy,
i’m covering the hard wood floors now
the bits and pieces splattered.
they are calling it a suicide but i’m calling it
a way to see my brain and
just how dark it has become, and honestly
i don’t want you to try and see about your’s.
i’m mourning the loss of my heart and wish you weren’t either -
FiniteI sometimes wish you were small—
so small you could sail this little model ship
into the clouds and never have
to look at a bowl full of put-out cigarettes again,
or make those oh-so-obvious
black paper hearts that you tear
down the center only to
band-aid back together
when I assure you, once again,
that you’re not worthless.
Remember the license plate you had
on that old blue car—
the one that said DANCE?
I wish you’d do that again;
I wish you’d do it in the middle of that abandoned attic
with its weathered beams and emptiness
like we did as children, without shame
and without purpose.
You once said that everywhere you went
places looked desolate, as though the desolation
shadowed you, clinging to your heals,
encasing you like an egg you were
trying to break free of, your arm reaching
for the immensity of the sky—
for a butterfly of hope.
“I feel as big as the world.” You said this
one morning as you purposely spilled that cup
'the love boat has crashed against the everyday'eternity has lost its voice;
like a blind cat, it wheezes
in its sleep, letting
fur crawl along its ribs.
from behind the corner a whistling kettle
scratches our ears with a dull knife;
fingers tap stiffly on a table hastily set.
the parquet is stained with pale word spit,
out of fear we covered it with a carpet
and it seems that we thrust this dusty carpet
like a stake into the spiracle of a whale.
your fingers are thin and brushwood-dry and
they won't even break through the tabletop
or switch to forte until that cat shrieks again...
maybe our light will shrivel in this dust
and someone will recite an incantation over our bodies
and someone will recite an incantation, "wake up!"
...i think i'm hearing voices, or maybe someone's voice,
or maybe just the radio.
consensus + AUDIOconsensus
i told you that night i would forget, but you
were too busy thinking
of when to see me
overdosing on bedsheets and sunshine we were salty and guttural tides -
i had all but forgotten the smell behind your ear, the softness
of your throat when it growls in hunger
the comforting shape of your head under my clumsy hands, that
familiar taste on the tip of you, pulling us
apart and together again
but we overlooked the bitterness
of candy-coated chimeras
the call of their acidic tongues)
next year’s crop should be better, the almanac said;
we chose to believe it
go east; the trees whispered
the snow took away their breath leaving me here
with onions to peel and tears to wipe
noticing them you mentioned winter
would last longer
-Sophie, january-february 2014
Originally published in issue #25 of "Up the Staircase Quaterly"
.you are dead and buried
six feet under yourself,
still feeling the way you did
when you were seventeen
and when you bathe, you still
keep your head under the
water, wrists upturned, red
eyes open, trying to drown yourself
6 ways on learning how to swim1. toes first
when i was younger i thought i was
beautiful. not like the other girls, of course, but i thought that
the sun followed me around because it thought i was pretty.
and i am a shop-a-holic. money burns a hole in
the back pocket of my jeans because i love to spend it.
but i do not like to go shopping. i love the idea and hate the activity.
there are few days that trying on clothes brings me
happiness because there are even fewer days that i love my
body enough to look in a mirror.
but i am trying.
("i love this dress! i can't believe that it fit!
i dropped another size!"
"what, mom? why are you looking at me like that?"
"...oh, please. one size?")
there are days when i don't leave my house and there are days
that i spend the time to put on makeup and
nice clothes to open the door and feel the fresh air and
to admire all the lovely, smiling, silently judging people who
i think are looking at me, but they probably aren't