The Expectation of Grief


You point to a box,
call it a house for grief,
say it’s standard issue
and there are no exceptions,
this ration
of walls is all you get.

You gesture toward a moment,
red as a stoplight, and call it
a cutoff, as if the heart
is nothing more
than a too-far-gone
drunk at a bar—
at some point, you must
refuse it service.

You say the word over
as if it is a scarecrow,
as if loss is an easily fooled
bird, as if feelings
can be fed to the wind,
as if a lie
might fly high enough
to become the truth.

You think this is
something I get to walk away
from, that it’s not a car wreck,
a suicide, a bad diagnosis.
You think bandage,
you think hid the pills,
you think medicine
is a miracle.
You think fix.


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Some nights are still rough. I feel a crushing sadness I don’t feel very often.

I’m going on a date tomorrow. Why shouldn’t things be great? I feel nothing. I date as a pastime nowadays.

I don’t even write poetry as often anymore. Perhaps I’ve plumbed all there is to plumb. I try to write once a week almost out of guilt.

And oh look, “Paperthin Hymns” by Anberlin just came on, one of the saddest fucking songs I’ve ever heard in my life.

I trudge through the same misery as so many others. It brings me no relief to acknowledge that, merely reiteration of the idea that nothing is original, especially heartbreak.

a band-aid for this bad heart


I don’t want to be gone
but that’s what I am:
an empty coffee mug,
a house full of old silence,
a ghost-filled parking lot,
arms and bones
shaped by the word without.

How did I get here?
This place where there’s too much
blame in my blood, where
I’m sure I’d fly away
if it weren’t for these
bricks of doubt
around these clay feet; now,
even my heart
refuses to beat right, a reminder
of everything’s that matters
more than I do—
sometimes grief echoes,
and the sound is worse
than its origins.

I made this
with my own two hands,
but it’s gone monster
and it intends to swallow
every one of my limbs,
and sometimes (don’t tell)
I consider letting it,
because giving up
seems to be the thing to do—
tell me
how many broken miracles
does it take
to make one that’s whole?

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And suddenly I become a part of your past
I’m becoming the part that don’t last
I’m losing you and it’s effortless
Without a sound we lose sight of the ground
In the throw around
Never thought that you wanted to bring it down
I won’t let it go down ’till we torch it ourselves


Happy birthday.

Existentialists R Us

Today’s your birthday,
Inexplicably, I still remember,
I can’t remember any other girl’s
But yours is in my head
Along with inane minutia,
Like the deepest point in the ocean,
Or the world’s deadliest snake,
Not that I wish I’d drown or be bitten than remember,
But this day sits like an immovable obelisk in my mind,
A memorial to the best and worst thing to ever happen to me

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Tell me our love story. Only, don’t use any words – just your mouth. Don’t you know that I’m tired of reading between the lines, finding fault in every unsaid syllable, blaming myself for all the consonants that aren’t quite right? Everything is nothing, until it isn’t. Nothing is everything, until something changes. I don’t care if it comes without warning, as long as it comes. Change. Something to hold on to. Even if it blows the world apart.

I lied when I said this was all I wanted. You must’ve known, must’ve understood. You always could feel the current of my heart. I never meant for either of us to drown in it, but here we are – waist-deep in chaos, trying to pretend that things are fine just the way they are.

It is what it is, and we are what we are. Only, we are more than…

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