87.

Outside of my body, watching myself
devour eyelashes, reach for a glass

Oh, please –
you have always been obsessive
when you’re running on empty

Leave me be –
in other heartless winters
I might have
but in a chilled July, no

I can live without empty beds
without another soul
wilfully destroying mine

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86.

Can I keep on like this?
Would I rather be balanced, whole
than up-and-down, haunted
by alternating obsessions

A head filled up with numbers
credit cards, near-lovers
birthdays, of dates I’ll miss
of heights and weights and countries

Would I rather flatline
than be disastrously, obsessively
worthless

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Orphan

I’ve a confession, I know it’s been a while

I am not unhappy. I know, you could accuse me of repression – and it’s true, I’ve things below the surface. Tell me who doesn’t? Orphan is no longer a dirty word that carries so much weight, and while I still see in black and white, things are lighter. I am more blessed than cursed.

There are things I do miss

I’m a sucker for nostalgia, you know that much. Every string of myself is tied still to a venue, to a field, to a white pair of trainers. I’ll forever remember the sharp stab of alcohol in a classroom, I’ll revere the rivers that made me – but I’ve so much more than then. I am someone I never thought I could be. There’s something in books and in late nights that brings me back around to ten, to eighteen. I want to love the girl that I was.

But I see more in my future than in my past

And desert mountains, a hand waving out of a car window, empty bottles on the beach – these are my present. My  brain, so black and white, so focused yet so scattered – I was ashamed of the way it never worked quite like anyone else’s. But it led me here, and I’m grateful. I am not blessed, I did this. I spent nights watching trains and never knew I would take one, too.

I have built my own home 

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85.

There’s a level of discomfort
when I get involved too deeply
in something I can’t quite
struggle my way out of
when I find something better

I may seem stagnant –
but I will always be fickle

As soon as I knew there were
other countries, other worlds
I wanted to know them, instead

As soon as I knew them, too,
I wanted something else

A curiosity so insatiable
led me here: to Pacific coasts
to European trains, to the sea
to work I’m not quite ready for

And if my fickle heart is responsible
for all the love I’ve known –
leave it be

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Emma

Another year, another promise
to live, to love myself
for me, my love, and for you

Another year that I whisper:
twenty, she was just twenty
and there’s no sense
which is what scares me

Which is what I hold on to
when I dare think that life is more
than coincidental, than by chance

I am twenty-three, now, dear
and I see no reason still
why I live when you cannot

Don’t let them tell you grief fades:
it’s easier to live, to take a breath
than on the sun-bleached shore of Miami
when I said again: she was twenty

But I still don’t know the why
and I’ve still no faith to comfort me
I can just try to take care of my own body
and remember you still,
fondly

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84.

What am I to do – honestly
when daily, constantly
I am unable to be caught up
in anything but my mundanity

And I’ll do it – just try me
destroy my life and love
burn down the home I’ve built
break my body to feel a thing

Because I haven’t, in a while
felt anything but electricity
when I sit a little too close

What is there, outside of four walls?
Perhaps if I had any feelings
I’d have guilt about it

but I do not, I haven’t cried in weeks
and if I can’t reach myself
please just leave me be

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83.

Who am I to say what makes a family?
Who is anyone – and to tell me
that I just have to love you, to thank you
for blood, for drowning, for unhappy holidays
for days spent wishing I
were dead, alone, with friends

Blood is useless; blood is weak

Who can tell me that
laughter, car rides, charity
meals and wine and up-til-dawn
cannot make a family
that the love between myself and others
is not what ties them to me

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