Sunday, December 20, 2015

wisdom teeth

it is not violent      pain as much as 
 it is an aching absence,  like wisdom teeth, like     something has
been stolen from you even though it's 
      all your fault.
blame the universe for making your mouth too fucking small. blame the teeth 
for existing, for being so goddamn
 sharp,
blame    yourself for being so 
susceptible to     infection.

roll over and pretend the spots can be filled, that you could give 
your    cavern    to anyone else, that their exploration wouldn't feel
like foreign flags; 

       new owners,     beware,
  this house is haunted, you are never safe 
         here.  there will be doors always locked, corridors always closed to you, you will never
     see the inside of the west wing,     it is for sacrifices, it is a museum now, a      
      dead     child's bedroom, frozen in time.
        you have free reign of the foyer, but this place
            is not yours, 
     we don't have permits, there will be no additions.

know that you can live
as your own      nation and survive 
the departure of your teeth,  just hope
this stitched up mouth, this frankenstein tongue, comes 
back to life. pray that love has not 
taken you to dinner and, although it was nice, 
they're just really         looking for something else. 
with luck, you will not always be this 
bleeding fox crouched among the trashcans, 
uncoordinated and 
    desperate 
in its lashing, 
the night-time voices pushing the hair from your forehead

       shush- we're trying 
   to save you, trust, trust in the net, just    please, 
       stop biting.

paint the ceiling so that no one knows         the boarded-up attic, the parts of 
yourself you banished
like traitors. 
pray that someday you will be a row 
of cornfields, that the fires of your warring country
will burn themselves into feudality, quiet citizens raking ash
from their crumbled houses-
a toothless hole,        after years of bombs,
the sky was quiet and empty, 
     no one knew what to do with their hands.

the ache of changing when you didn't want to, how you overturned 
everyone's life raft just trying to save yourself, the people you drowned 
for a deserted island, a haunted 
house, an empty mouth. 


shake like shutters,
other things usually 
quiet, cocked breath.
open your mouth in an empty room, let
the devil out, the curve 
and fill filth, 
say your prayers, other things usually
quiet. 



i learned how to bite the inside of my cheeks from my mother,
the telltale 
side smirk and chewing when she was anxious or craving or eating
the words she dared not say. 

she used to tell me, 
"a cat won't play with a dead mouse", 
give up and roll over. 
be responsible for the ending of
conversations, this is how to be
strong. she used to tell me that there was dignity 
in a tail between legs, that you could escape as long as you held your head high enough
to avoid the disappointed eyes. 
be the one to swallow the bitterness, fill your mouth with 
bloody words, walk away
first.
my mother taught me that the only way to win an argument 
is to walk away first, 

i have gotten very good
at running,
bite the inside of my cheeks until i am raw and penny-tasting, bite
to distract from the craving, make a mess 
of my unopened lips.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

wine glasses, sand freckles, chipping paint of fire escapes,
i exhale everything but like a 
pillow pressed to mouth, instinctively inhale them all back. 
it was never an abundance of badness but rather a 
magnitude
of memory, 1600 boxes stacked high, i walk among them, nod
at the labels, "April 2014", "September 2013", make an inventory, 
what we keep and what we leave
when we leave.

brace myself for the goodbyes but like a 
pillow pressed to mouth, this breathlessness 
is warm
and good.
i make room in the attic
instead. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

teeth

i tied a string around me, slammed the door
to the taste of penny-blood. you say, "stop
drinking all the coffee in the morning", i say
"i am taking everything from you, i am still
a nervous cat coaxed
half way from under the bed, you hurt me more than 100 days
can fix", dirty hands like pulling loose teeth, you say
"what a beautiful face" and mean it,
i send emojis because i am losing the ability to
love things, send me back like misplaced mail, losing
too many teeth to defend my tongue-
i'll be the whipping post, darling,
my heart was nudged into falling out
year by year like
baby teeth.

there is always clay under my finger nails, i pretend that
i know what mirrors are, i pulled the rug out like
razing your mouth, stole your teeth so you couldn't speak the words
i'd wanted for so long but
set to sea to kill the longing,
i apologize for these hands, i apologize for these hands.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

the beating of war drums, the pounding of hooves, 
the horses
running until there are no places left to run, their sweat soaked haunches and chests
frantic breathing smoke into the night.
  
the front yard is a mess of paw prints, i don't remember which shampoo 
to buy. 
i break off pieces of my head like breadcrumbs, leave a trail 
too confusing to find, 
everything is still bruised, 
crawl under the porch as a dying cat.
safety has snapping jaws.

i am angry red-rubbed stitches on hands 
washed too many times in a gas station bathroom, crying
"they still don't feel right, who do they belong to?"
i tell the story of the horses so many times that i begin to think 
i know horses.