when I was seven
I would walk on the tips of my toes.
my mother would shake her head
at me and ask “why, baby, why?”
and I would look up and tell her
that this way I could be closer to the sun,
to everything the world had to offer.

when I was ten
I would walk on the balls of my feet.
my mother would shake her head
at me and ask “why, baby, why?”
and I would look up and tell her
that I wanted to see the way big kids did,
three years older and seven inches up. 

when I was fourteen
I would walk with my heels skimming the ground.
my mother would shake her head
at me and ask “why, baby, why?”
and I would look over and think to myself
that maybe the best way to survive
was to be invisible. 

when I was seventeen
I would walk with my soles firmly planted.
my mother would shake her head
at me but she’d long since asked me why,
and I would look down and think 
that this way nobody would ever be able to
push me over again.

when I was nineteen
I would start to walk on my toes once more.
my mother would tilt her head
at me and say “it’s good to see you smile”
and I would look over and tell her
that it was good to be smiling again,
that it meant that I was no longer afraid.

I hope that when I’m eighty six
I will still be walking on my toes.
my mother will be long gone, but I know she would shake her head
at me and ask “why, baby, why?”
and I would look over and tell her
that life is about standing tall, 
even if you need some help to do so.



I wouldn’t mind living like this, a small little place that over looks the city. I could play records, drink tea, paint on Sundays, read books sprawled out on the ground and romance men way out of my league. That’d be nice. 

dream home

if you have a friend in a 
five year old,
then know that you have earned something
that does not come easily,
but also know
that there are certain things
that you should know about this 
newly found friendship.

for starters, expect to never have clean hair again.
you will spend hours crawling through 
the dirt in search of buried treasure,
sit through countless makeovers, with grubby hands
carding through your locks without the least bit
of concern for your scalp,
and be victim to anything and everything from
lollipops to lasagna. 

expect awkward questions a plenty-
why you don’t live with your parents any more,
or perhaps why you do, 
if you get nap time at work and if not,
then do you at least get milk and cookies,
why the hairs in your nose are darker
than the ones on top of your head-
nothing is off limits, perhaps as it should be.

but also expect a type of loyalty
that is nothing like any you’ve ever known
that child will fight for you,
or at least try their best to,
and promise to protect you from monsters- 
both real and imaginary- 
and all you have to do is to stand tall
and fight alongside them. 

so if you have a friend in a 
five year old,
then know that you’re in it for good, 
no take backs, no erasies, 
or blackout no whiteouts, 
because their words to you, 
like their hearts,
are as good as gold.

a boy once told me
that he loves girls with scars
and wouldn’t want to date someone
without any.

it may seem strange to you, I said,
but my scars having nothing to do with you.
my scars are not a dotted line
with instructions for you to “kiss here.”  

do not romanticize the worst time
in my life, and the marks that come with it, 
because they are nothing more
than evidence of a life lived and fought for.

my scars are a part of my story.
they do not make me a better person
or a lesser one,
but they do make me human.

so do not rewrite my story to make it your own,
to make you the “savior” who helped me live,
you may have made my days brighter
but you are nowhere close to being my sun.

I may have been lost, but it was I
who picked myself off the floor
and put myself back together - 
not my parents nor my friends nor you.

everyone has struggles they must fight in their own way,
but my battle scars, my skipped meals, and downed pills,
those are not beautiful. 
I am still here, and that, that is beautiful.

instead of speaking out
I bite blisters into a curled fist,
whisper protests into the curve of my elbow,
and cry out into the space between my knees.

it’s like screaming out into space where
no one can hear you when you need them most,
and no one can save you 
from the monster that is your own reflection.

there’s a bitter taste left behind
by my own shame and insecurity,
and there’s nothing else I can do but ignore it,
force it down, and hope it goes away on it’s own.

it doesn’t and it won’t and I can’t do anything about it, 
at least not today. 

I know I’m not the only one who is suffering right now, but I do know that I feel so so alone.

they say
that it gets better
but my bones still ache
anytime someone touches me,
and I can feel the traces
of your hands on my skin
as the phantom bruises
throb in retaliation. 

they say 
that time heals all wounds
but I’m still bleeding onto the floor
struggling to breathe,
and I can feel the terror
haunting me
as I try my best to run
from something I can’t see.

they say
that it wasn’t my fault
but all the signs were there
I was just too blind to see,
and I can feel your sneer
everywhere I go
as you revel in the power
that you took from me. 

they say
that is gets better
but in reality
it’s you that gets stronger, 
and I can feel my strength
returning every day
as my path travels farther
that my wildest dreams.

sometimes late at night
I swear I can still hear your voice
as it echoes inside my empty apartment
and reminds me of movie dates
with too much popcorn
and too many choices
and too many kisses shared under the cover of darkness.

it’s not just at night, either.

sometimes when I wake up
I swear I can still feel your warmth
leeching off the left side of the bed
and it reminds me of morning sex
and breakfast in bed
and ignoring the world, if only for just a little bit.

sometimes it’s four o’clock on a sunday
and something reminds me of you-
a tv show, or a music note,
or one of those god-awful articles
you clipped out and stored in a folder on the desk.

either way, sometimes I think of you
and laugh or smile or cry,
and wonder what you’re doing
or how you are.
I hope you do too.