the mountain ages.

young blood heartbreak feels like shingles
like your skin wants to slip from you
like you are already bare 
and it is winter and frostbite burns. 

when you are a colt—heartbreak 
looks like you tightly wound on the floor 
of your mother’s car 
while she drives you home.
a ruin of a city.

mothers hate to see their babies
shatter.

now older—drying out—
heartbreak is a spider’s web you stumble through.
it is soft, fragile, but encompassing. 
you cannot see it 
yet it sits on your skin 
ghost-thick 
and you brush it off
feet and chest hardly miss a beat. 

at most, swat your 
hair, a moment of frenzy, paddling through 
your hair 
scared a spider is holding 
on but it is only your fear. 
it is only heartbreak. 
it exists only in your head.

suzie says: love is not shelter 
but then why do men always run to me when it rains? 
is this how you are 
supposed to hold a lover, 
open your shoulder blades like an umbrella 
and turn your ribcage into a woven nest, 
bones as sticks and cartilage as feathers? 

is this only hard for me? 

do i shy from holding dear just because 
mother held me too tight, 
trapped either in arms 
that would not let go or 
within crib prisons 

where i taught my throat to scream 
because babes must be schooled in self-soothing? 

have my roots gone rotten? 

were they always? 

has this soil gone moldy, 
the mycelium gone quiet, 
can nothing grow here?

i mean to say: 
this was no walk in the park. 
i mean 
maybe i walked out. he brought the rain inside.

i could not endure 
another day of his storm, 
of his flood, he wept so much water. 
i wanted to be my own cyclone, 
gliding along the sea, 
always moving towards blue skies 
glued to the horizon, i never make it there.

perfection is undiscoverable.

in this story, he had weary feet 
so i placed myself a mountain peak. 

friends say there is nothing 
wrong with that. 

“you always were a shitty valley girl, 
do not wallow in sediment 
when you have already become rock.” 

so i took my temple as high 
as i could, 
knowing elevation made him queasy, 
inflamed that already swollen brain. 
if i am a cordillera, 
how can i keep a lover with altitude sickness 
even if he sings like the spring? 

don’t you see—
i was always impossible to hold.


saturated.

i.
i ask for a drop and a river falls out.

ii.
a wind whistle between rib spaces—
maybe i need room
to breathe so build a
bigger house,
an extra floor like a slanted top hat.
balance

it on my skull.

iii.
learn to walk with
books on my flat head
because knowledge is heavy
because a lifetime is enough to shrink
even giants
because this is longer than you would expect
and tired becomes easier & easier.

iv.
if i open your hands,
could i
fit inside?

v.
swallow
me
whale-mouth.

vi.
i am so sick of the sea,
the ocean only ever
half full.
waiting seems like a slow deadness,
exhibiting twilight,
plum purple stains on
the legs,
i keep walking into the
end of this story only to find it a wall
not a door.

it is the sort of water
where you can only sink.

vii.
these sandbag feet were never good
for anything
except tripping and now,

when a river falls out,

maybe i never knew the meaning of heaviness.

maybe i learn the reality
of roots, of being rooted, of sinking
so deeply that everything merges.
Oh this fear
of losing distinction—
of becoming blended,
blurring into the furniture
and the coastline.

if i don’t want to be
a part of everything—
does that mean i will always be lonely?