Star Boy

Look at me, star boy. Your passion burns
so red. Listen here, star boy.
Keep your heart in the
good fight. Go forth, star boy.
Your veins beat the pulse
of nations. Be wise, star boy.
Beneath the armor
is skin. Look at me, star boy.
Do you know all I see
is your blood?

Wisps of Smoke

“I think I smoke too much,” you say
as you light another cigarette
and he watches you behind half-closed eyelids.
Of course you do, of course you do, his silence says
like he used to say out loud.
You wish this town was as exciting as it was
when you were sixteen.

Your grandmother died last year and it’s a shame
because she used to make the best lemonade.
Before the ungodly hour of three am
became something sacred
you’d wake up early just to drink it
when she visited in the morning.

Alcohol doesn’t even taste good
now that you’re over twenty one and
your mom can’t stop you from doing anything.
Not that she tried very hard before, but you appreciated
the times that she did.

“You’re a man now. Act like one,” she would say,
and that was hard to request of someone who had
watched his mother paint lipstick on her mouth
every morning of his life.

You used to light fires just for kicks,
until you couldn’t stop and your friend’s dad
caught you, but he never told, and there
was nothing left to do.

“I’ll stop soon…” you murmur as the fumes
dissolve in the stale air and he sleeps
soundly beside you.


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You told me
all the things
you meant
for her

Your voice cracked
with unpracticed hope
and words
passed through ears
a silent whistle
as they latched unwanted
to memory

and maybe
she never heard them
joyless sonnets
constructed out of air
a comedy
built for silent laughs

Here and gone
after each one
and she and her
never heard a word

But they haunt
early morning dreams
and afternoon nightmares
nighttime silence
because one person


the imprints you left
on my bedroom walls
and undotted
there was never a chance to say it
but you did anyway

we left the field
dark grass engraved
with the shapes
of our wasted bodies

your eyes
were like a forest
i could never find my way
out of


i try to
decipher the etchings
on my
bedroom wall

a language
i don’t understand

The Runner

She was a runner
Trains and planes were a high she
couldn’t escape.
The ground moving beneath her feet
Away, or to

Her lungs were always too small,
Or maybe there was never enough air
when his lips touched her
like her skin was laced with gold

A hole twisted in her gut and her pulse
raced before her feet hit the ground
And one morning she ended up in London
after running all night

The clank of money in her pocket was too faint
And the glare of the sun reflecting off the Thames
was a certain kind of sickly filler
for that trench in her chest when she worked jobs she didn’t like

There were bugs in her bathtub and she dreamt of that morning
Of water dripping from his hair and trickling down his cheeks, dimpled imperfections
in the pale sunrise that filtered through steamed windows
before he left for class

When she was small her brother left
before her mother left
and she was left
with a belief only in big, dark spaces

The ditch in her stomach was never so deep
as when she arrived in Paris and her best days
were when her flatmate
who bit her skin raw and ugly
went away on rare weekends with the guise of visiting family

She found an old photograph of golden eyes and sunshine smiles
and she remembered why she loved to run

She arrived in Berlin and her heart was no more than a black hole
Salty tears colored the rusty kitchen sink
when he called one day and she let it ring,
And it reminded her of how small her lungs were

Aching, bleeding for oxygen because hills were steep,
She wanted to stop but
there were never enough miles of road
and she ran with fire in her calves that couldn’t quite melt
the ice in her veins

She arrived in Venice bones and skin and she realized,
chest heaving because the world would never have enough air
that maybe there wasn’t a finish line
Maybe she would sink with a city

She stopped to catch her breath once
and found smiling cheeks and old button up shirts
in a teashop in Edinburgh.
The smell of scones was too hard to resist.

When she found herself in Tokyo
her skin rotten and hair in strings
her body was an open wound and she found
cherry blossoms weren’t as beautiful as the color of his laughter.
She watched as they floated away in whispers
when the breeze came

Someone asked where she’d come from,
but she couldn’t speak the language

Sydney was sunny, maybe
Dark circles rimmed red with sunburn
Names growing faint in her memory
but forever burned around the edges of her heart,
and she couldn’t cry without sunglasses on

There was that one night near the end
when he slipped his socks off and crawled across the sheets
and looked into her eyes as if
they held the world

She was barely a shell, maybe
but she liked the feeling of the wind in her hair as she sailed winding trails
taking her away, or to

The Healer

Veins made of shadows
slit open beneath fingers
that vanish to dust

A heart that bleeds smoke
stitches must heal, sown by
a heart that beats blood

Dawn breaks pale sun
labors but flowers bloom from
the roots of his hair

Sunlight slants through glass
swirls of air spun galaxies
stir dust into stars

sounds like rain

a crack in the doorway and instead of light
only darkness spills out onto the hardwood floor
oily and putrid and thick
unlike that of a clear summer’s night
which she so hoped it would be

her skin sweats and her insides wilt
but there is nothing better than the feeling
of complete and utter nothing
that comes with this kind of pleasure
what could be?

she looks up at the sky and he is gone
he is not there, no one is
she laughs at the sky instead
at its jokes and she wants to shout at it,
“are you jealous?”

wet floor creaks beneath her feet
and it’s the smell of poison that brings a smile to her face
“be like me,” they’d all said. “this is better”
it poisons her insides and it’s better
she smiles so much it hurts

she spits at the sky
but it comes falling back on her
before she can wipe it away it begins to rain
grass wet beneath her toes and she feels a tingle of pleasure
it’s different

she doesn’t see eyes when she looks into their eyes
she doesn’t find the humor in their laughter
“you want to be like me.”
she attaches a question mark to the statement
and finds herself longing for an answer

everywhere she goes there is nothing
she cannot see
they hand her a glass and he pulls her into darkness again
“you want to be like me?”
but when her answer comes, she cannot say it

she stares up at the ceiling another night
once she is herself again
and hears the breathing steady beside her
“do you want to be like me?”
the steady darkness looks back at her
rain drops on the open windowsill and she cherishes the sound

her face is wet beneath the sky but there no clouds
“i miss you” she says into the grass
she cannot look up
“i wish” she begins but she cannot finish

a series of nights, another one
the poison tastes like poison
a grimace that is not lead away

she looks up to the sky and she misses him
the pools leak dry
the stars sparkle in her eyes instead
a glimmer of beauty
in time

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Until Next Time


“It’s been a pleasure,” you said,
with the windows drawn down
and the lights coming toward us.

I didn’t know what you were talking about,
but I do know that no one’s ever felt
the way about me that you have.

Is that good? I asked myself
that night and last night and
every night before.

The sky sunk into night, and
I felt your elbow against mine
warm and stained and cracked.

“It’s been a pleasure,” you said,
the only thing I’ve ever felt,
like nails digging into my skin when you smile.

Gazing in the distance,
“No one’s loved me,” you said, “like you.”
I’m here, I’m right here.

A million numbers called every night.
Every voice answered and
yours was the only one that ever left empty static.

“A pleasure,” you said
and I didn’t understand
why your tears were on my wrists.

Cold air,
reaching for a hand
like an Indian sunburn on my fingers.

I told you so many times before
and in that moment you thought you’d found me
when I was never hiding.

“It’s been a pleasure.” You smiled so wide and bright
it felt like I was looking at the sun,
or maybe you were.




smoke curls from between his fingers
a cool impossibility: he adores himself.

sky wide open, pearly ink blue
absorbs idle conversation that plays for hours
in the locked rooms of their minds

he is so bright, a cursory glance will not do
smoke breathes into fringes of the atmosphere
shaded eyes in the dead of night, stale lashes

a blinding possibility.

lungs constrict. retract.
beneath the skin runs a river of fire
engulfs the deepest dark, a twisting white burn

a need for water
he lights another

breath out
flower petal lids flutter shut

sunrisen grass is a damp bed. an ashtray of glitter.
hair wilted. the party is over.

stars leak out of his veins for another night

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You and I are the Moon and the Sky

The first day of elementary school
Small sticky hands on doorknobs
I found my desk near the back.
You walked in and glanced around
Demanded, to no one in particular,
“Where’s mine?”

I blame the alphabet.
No, the ancients who arranged it
And put those two particular letters
Beside one another

You never let me forget it
Poked my back and pulled my hair
And stole the words off my spelling tests

You made me laugh
So I kept you.

We battled dragons in your backyard
And brewed potions in my kitchen
Spun webs around everyone else,
Who dare question us.

We considered ourselves.
Listen, listen to me,
I have more to say

In middle school
When your mother broke the news
And your brother asked for lunch afterward,
It was prepared with dry eyes.
You cried into my cereal

I made you smile.
You could keep that.

Movies and pizza, Friday nights
Dragons and spells and quests.
Watch, watch until it’s over,
We can continue the stories ourselves

New York City was so haunted
That autumn we decided to go during high school.
The Statue of Liberty was blocked by an ocean of monsters,
But our laughter was brighter than the sun
That burned imprints and images into our eyes

Read, read it for me please,
One day we’ll be famous.
You poked my back and pulled my hair
Eyes glazed over with stars

I did,
I wanted to keep it.

I like to think that your college essay
Wouldn’t have been so immaculate
If you hadn’t learned to spell over my shoulder

Dragons and spells and castles
Monsters and potions,
An adventure, a chosen one
A solo quest.

I hadn’t realized

Technology is to blame, they say
For the reason people don’t communicate
Face to face

But so is distance.

A suffocation, strangulation
Texts and messages and photos
Listen, listen to me,
I have more to say.

I tried to keep it.

I found the book
Castles, swords and royalty
Words unrecognized,
A lifetime in a world, not a trace to find
In you.

A burned, ruined heart,
Split down the middle
I asked, excruciating on the tongue,
to no one in particular
“Where’s mine?”