At the base of the hill
my bicycle waits for me
I realize that I will always
until I die
all the beauty I can find
in the world
I want to find it
before I die
I told you about the trees
I told you about the trees,
about how they make me feel.
their slender white bodies peeling away
topped with pungent, faded leaves
I said that they are lovely,
that they make me want to cry and paint
not caring that my tears smear the colours
Why? Because look at them!
and you agreed.
Later you made love to me
and after, turned away.
Now I look at the trees
and feel nothing.
If I die on this mountain
My thoughts would only be:
how pointed the trees all look from above
how cold I am despite my layers
how my bubblegum has lost its flavor
I do not think of my lover
I do not think of my mother
I do not think of school, an expense my job will never cover
I do not think of songs I’ve written, never to be sung or heard by another
No I’m not thinking of these things
Only that, before I died,
I would have very much liked
Petrichor - 88 Words
Elise was much smarter than me. She was always teaching me new words. “Petrichor,” she said one day as we were walking home from school. “It’s the smell of the ground just after the rain.” Kicking a fallen pine cone, I whispered it to myself. The words felt foreign and clumsy, tumbling out of my mouth while hers flowed perfectly from between her small puckered lips. The sounded silver, and still do, even through the telephone.
I ache for the words I never got to learn.
101 Word Love Story
This morning I fell in love again. This time she was a ginger, clutching her purse while waiting for the train. I’ve seen her here on a few other occasions, but something about her far away gaze, the delicate way she pulled strand after strand of honey colored hair behind her ear, as if oblivious to the torrents of wind… Something confirmed it today. I loved her. But we were on opposite sides of the glass. I sat there, heart throbbing, as my train pulled away. As I watched her shrink into the distance, my wife sat down next to me.
When I get home from work it’s after 5 o’clock and the sun is hovering dangerously close to the horizon. I park the car, run upstairs and change into my swimsuit. Barefoot and draped in a thick, white towel, I cut across the lawn, down the sidewalk and into the familiar chain link fence of the apartment complex pool.
I open the gate latch and enter, careful not to let it slam and alert the neighbors. Tall buildings surround all sides of the swimming pool. Birds compete with planes to be the focal point in the square of visible pink sky above me.
I set my towel down on a lounge chair and tighten my ponytail, then test the water with a toe. It’s cold, and I feel my skin come alive with goosebumps.
It’s only been fall for a couple weeks and already I’ve lost the tawny skin that took me all summer to achieve. I guess staring at a screen for eight hours a day has that effect.
Sitting on the pools edge, I ease myself into the frigid water, gasping when I’m up to my shoulders.Three stories up, I can see Mr. Chang standing at the window, watching me as he eats something from a bowl. I stare back with intensity until he closes his blinds. Now I’m completely alone.
Shivering, my hands scramble to untie my bikini top. I slip it over my head and toss it soaking aside. I never liked how the knot dug into the back of my neck.
I close my eyes, trying to force my body to acclimate to the chilled water. Sounds. Focus on the sounds. The hum of the pool heater, the distant honking of cars. A sports broadcast being played in one apartment. A child crying in another.
Slowly, I lower my head. The icy pool water fills my ears and for that moment the only sounds are my limbs moving in space. I resurface and notice that something has changed. The pool lights are on. My body looks paler than usual in the green glowing water. Florescent lights dance on my skin. I am numb to the cold.
I inhale deeply and dive down again. This time, I let out a scream.
I scream because I hate my job. I scream because I hate LA. I scream because he left and because I stayed and because I never wanted this life. I scream because under the water, no one can judge me. My cries turn into bubbles, rising silently to the surface and leaving the outside world oblivious.
I resurface. The sky is a shade of purple now. I untie my ponytail and dive again. This time I open my eyes to watch the long strands of bleached hair float around my face, suspended. I too am suspended. I humor the idea of not coming back up. No one would notice. I would never have to sit in traffic again, or be harassed at the office again, or fall asleep in a crummy apartment we used to share. Never again.
My chest hurts. I’m crumpling. Sinking. Not sure if I’m crying.
From above I hear the sound of the gate slamming. I pop to the surface, trying to conceal my gasp. It’s Laura from down the hall. I smile at her and wait until her back is turned to heave my half naked body onto the cement and wrap up in my plush towel.
Ringing the chlorine from my hair and bikini, we exchange pleasantries. Then I get up and make my way home.
I don’t know why I’m so spellbound by the idea of moving far away and abandoning the life I’ve made here
Perhaps it’s because I’m noticing the pattern in my relationships
And if I choose to isolate myself
I don’t have to feel guilty for being alone
Or like I’m not good enough for another person
If I trick myself into believing I’m lonely of my own choosing
I do my heart a favor
You break my heart sometimes
Did you know that?
Naked and cold
and pushed to the edge of your bed
I hold it
And feel it break
It’s open as you leave,
Open and bleeding like my body
And on those days
I scramble to fix it
Before you come home
when you say you love me
I smile through the sting
that you don’t even know me
if you did