The lady at rehab asks me what I want to be when I die.
I tell her I want to be a tree.
I look outside at the leaves falling, singing to the ground. I want to be born and reborn again.
The class looks at me oddly.
The boy in the black jacket says nothing, doodles furiously on his paper.
I think of the third floor of the apartment building with the great balcony that I wanted to jump off of.
I think of car crashes in slow motion.
Tell me about yourself, they say.
I am afraid of too many things.
When it rains I don’t leave my house.
I can’t go through drive thrus. I
can’t stand in long lines at the grocery store.
There Are Too Many Scary Things In The World, my brain says.
There Are Things That Must Be Magic, I argue back softly. Softly like a hum in a hurricane.
The boy in the cemetery is reading poetry to me. I think, this is what love must be like.
I wonder if the trees are listening. I wonder if the gravestones creak with each turning page.
When I die, I say, I want to be a tree.
In the desert there is nothing but the sound of your heartbeat.
I listen to the 9,198 days the machine in me roars.
No matter the wreckage, the scars on the body, the soft taste of metal under my tongue.
The boy in the car holds my hands during certain songs.
He looks at me like there is magic under my eyelids.
The cacti tell me to go home.
I want to be a tree.
I get up, I leave class, I wash my dirty palms in the sink.
I stick them to the soil.
The machine in me roars, not yet.
I step away from the edge of the balcony.
The boy in the bookstore reads me children’s books.
I think this is what love sounds like when it rains.
I wipe the soil from underneath my fingernails, I think, this can wait.
The boy on top of me says he loves me.
He holds me down because he loves me.
He grabs my throat because he loves me.
He screams at me, and, he loves me.
I want to scratch him with my wedding ring.
I want to kick at him, but think of the damage back.
My lungs scream as if they have a cause, as if to say, get me out of here.
But. He loves me.
When he packs his things I stare at the broken glass on the floor.
My wrists burn.
The police officer asks, do you think he will kill you?
But. He loves me.
The only reminder of him are the dishes, still clean and tightly packed in the dishwasher.
I do not touch them.
I eat my food out of cups.
The light shining on me is checking for bruises.
In another language, bruises mean love, right?
In the most dangerous language, a language taught over years.
I change the locks.
I sleep with the lights on.
I move at every noise.
In between two people, far away, I am wide awake, the image of him screaming at me taunting my mind.
I am afraid he will find me.
And tell me he loves me.
In the dream we were lying on a bed, facing each other and just holding hands. You were looking at me. Happy.
The feeling of holding your hand made me so deliriously happy.
I can’t find words to explain it, it was just like a big flower blooming in my chest.
It was like all of my lifetimes melting into one.
Your hand felt so good in mine. I ran my fingers over yours.
When I awoke, I could still feel how your hand felt. I laid there. I did not cry. I looked at my empty hand. I looked at my empty bed.
I went to the sink and I washed my hand very deliberately.
As I scrubbed, I thought of The Red Thread that is always connecting everyone that we have ever loved. Always there. Always invisible. Never to be broken.
I can’t ever wash you away.
I know that The Thread was tugging on my heart especially hard today. I wonder if it was tugging on your end, too.
I asked The Red Thread politely to stop pulling so hard, please. I told Thread that was so old but never frayed: thank you, I know you are there.
I fell asleep half way into a dream. You were there, mumbling something in a secret language And I Forgot to lock the door on my way out. I wanted to make a statement, wanted the hinges to scream. I wanted to put on my loudest boots and do my best stomping. Instead I chose my tennis shoes and slipped out. If you ever noticed the loss, you didn’t let on… though your eyes dulled & you were always frowning toward the sky like some invisible God did you a great injustice just by you being alive.
Love is a spare key kept in the back of the cupboard, the sound of creaking floorboards, Your Eyes & The Way They Look At Me & nothing else
I fell asleep half way into a dream. We are stranded in a desert. There is a snake and a tree. The snake likes me so much it bites me. It wants to keep me forever. I am buried under the tree & finally, it is not alone
I love you in a way that children’s books know, with their glossy pages, fresh smell & happy endings. We only got a middle. A few paragraphs. I will re read them to you until the earth collapses in on itself. When it does I will remember
Your Eyes & The Way They Look At Me. & nothing else.
Oh here we rest
beside our bed of heaven made regret
each daisy linked, so intertwined that they forget they are whole by themselves
In the middle of the night for no apparent reason, I drive to the house where I grew up. Too afraid to step onto the lawn, I step out of my car and stand across the street under the light like a ghost. I walk around the graveyard we played in when we were kids. For no apparent reason, I piss next to the big lake we burned each other at. The crickets chirp and sing. I wonder where they took that goddamn trailer. I hope they burned it. I drive back to my apartment tucked in the city. I stand under the water until it hurts.
One Person That I Love Very Much, Maybe Most In The World says my brain is in fact, not on fire, I am just sad. But goddamn, can I feel the burning. I try to write The Suicide Note but order a pizza instead. I call this self love. One Person That I Love Very Much, Maybe Most In The World says, just Be Happy. I take Xanax and drive to the store to buy a power cord for the giant tv I bought.
I remember the way your skin felt when we were new to each other. Now we barely touch and I dream many dreams and in all of them the person that I see is not the one I see when I wake up. I dream many dreams and in each one there is the Leaving but not the remembering Why.
In the middle of night for no apparent reason, I dial a number given to me and I leave a voice message to This God, hoping that he exists. I sit by The Phone. The Phone that was unplugged the whole goddamn time.
The sign said: WANTED: SOMEONE BEAUTIFUL. So I stopped eating. In my dreams my pale legs grew tall and strong like that old oak tree you used to climb to get away from me.
I only wanted to kiss you the way the old ladies at church said angels kissed my face.
How my freckles were born and born again, tiny constellations blooming on my pale white skin. During the spring before I walked to school I hid them under seven layers of makeup and stole cough syrup on the way for breakfast lunch and an energy drink for dinner.
When I was little they told me I could be anything I wanted, so I studied the models in the magazines traced their tiny bodies with my fingertips and wondered if there was a degree for loving yourself unconditionally.
When you found me I smoked so many cigarettes ashes were born from me and born again on the breath of a Marlboro Light that made me gag, but I insisted. Punishment was too sweet.
Last it was the hair, I loved it too much, you see just like you that is what people do not seem to understand so I had to let it go It was the equivalent of shooting your jaw off, but not as messy or inconvenient but by the stares, you’d think that was what I had done.
People look at me, the guys shrug it off but the girls look, grasp their own locks and wonder how I could ever dare to part. I wonder myself how could they even care about something so small when we are on a tiny planet in an infinite universe?
I guess it is more important to be wanted than to merely Exist.