After a few years on break from poetry, something had me writing again.
This is a collection of what I've been doing since.
It's ordered from old to new.
He refused to eat and so she fed him.
Or at least she wanted to.
His worth was visible bright as a halo keeping close to the skin.
It was distracting, although it might've just been her who could see it.
It was really quite dim like his confidence and thin like how he aspired to be, but she had a trouble of sorts in that she fell in love with potential.
She lived for possibilities, more so than she appreciated the achievements she barely managed to haul down from her catch of the day.
She was inspired by opportunity, but feared to take one on.
She chanted encouragement and motivation as her gospel, but often found herself lacking the strength even to speak.
She wanted to feed him because he refused to eat.
She wanted so desperately something more, but as her hand flinched back upon every attempt she soon chose to settle for dreaming.
So she would dream but felt no need to reach, because somehow she'd gone to convince herself the dream was just enough.
A semblance, a lie of a happy ending that hung in her sky above her like a star she knew was there but knew she would never know, knew she would never really see in front of her simply because it was too far from what she knew to be home, to be safe.
It was set for admiration, but never for achievement.
That's who he was to her.
A dream, lost in the folds of the memories they shared as companions while she tried to justify her actions of sitting at the starting line of a marathon the competing runners had already stayed to the finish.
She didn't even know what to say to him.
Lord, she didn't even know what to call him anymore.
To her, he no longer had a name.
It had been lost in translation, gone like his appetite, dwindling like the numbers on the scale till it faded to unrest, similar to the state of his health.
But why couldn't they rest together?
She would scream until all the lightbulbs in her brain had burned out and she was thrown into a fitful sleep full of him: refusing life, refusing her, and refusing to change the lightbulb. He would linger at the edges of her mind and threaten to cliff dive spinning into nothing away from the comfort she always wanted to give but never found herself able.
He was never hers to begin, yet still he was the knife to her throat that made her fall to her knees, hands to the sky, to renounce the sins she was proud of committing as he, ever still, starved himself into oblivion.
She didn't fully understand it herself, but it was tallied in chalk on her wall of possibilities that of all the world she held in the highest regard.
With all those possibilities laid out end to end, begging any to be chosen, she falters and turns her head from the gravity of a decision.
No matter what she wanted.
She thought as much, but she did nothing.
It was because of her inability to take action that he was rendered unable.
When they say that she fed him, they mean she helped feed the fire that purged him of his heresy.
She fed him empty words meant to help but seldom changed a mind once made,
And she knew it! She did! But she thought it'd hold worth to try anyway, for him.
He used to whisper to her in languages she didn't know as they lay side by side under the stars and while she liked to think he could translate her heartbeat, she spoke so little of it aloud he was never able to pick up the vocabulary.
Their only communication was through broken glances and half smiles and uncertain laughter, and looking back at what she could have said it was no wonder she wasn't able to save his life.
He had been a falling star upon which she hesitated with her wish,
But the time passed
And so did the possibilities.
*published in TWU's honors journal Off the Quill 2015
You need to write what you think
because nobody else here will write it for you,
and it needs to be seen or heard or something—
scream it from balconies—
because it matters
and so do you.
Prove it to yourself
in the words I bother you to write;
everyone has the potential to be a writer
you have the stomach for it
so cough up those last bits of doubt
and write something
before I slam the door in your face and stop my expectations,
for I can only try so hard on reluctance
and though I’d never give up on wanting you to,
I might just give up on you.