Out of the Woods

I remember that last night at the airport, our last night and the first. Mouths and fingers sticky from soft serve, your thumb smearing chocolate on my cheek just so you had an excuse to wipe it off. Ice cream was still “cheating” to me then, eating anything pretty much was, and I pinched my wrist bones to reassure myself. 

"Are you drunk?" you asked me.

I said no, but it would’ve been better if I was. Maybe I could’ve written it off as a momentary discretion, a weakness fueled by a spring that felt like summer and a bed that only smelled like myself. 

Do you ever tell her about April? The month, not the girl, although the two are always the same. 

I wonder how my life always ends up at this crux, sweaty hands and the vertigo of a decision already made. How I didn’t want you, but I wanted to take something, since he had taken so much from me. So much — a series of near-misses and voicemails and a spare shirt from the boss he ended up fucking. The shirt you were rubbing your knuckles against on my back. The way my father stared at me when I explained I had to see him again in order to give his toothbrush back. 

"Baby girl," he told me, "if you give them what they want, they’ll never stay." 

"My life’s a movie, if movies make you want to jump off a bridge."

I think about change. 

My mouth is too red; my lipstick looks like an open wound in the metro window. I see the homeless man staring and wipe it off with the back of my hand. What was I thinking? That I can change my clothes, change my hair, and somehow slip into a second skin? That somehow the things we’ve done become a different person, the past excusable by naivety and too many rum and cokes? 

I remember that night on the couch, wine bottle on the coffee table and your girlfriend three states away. I remember the way I walked into bible study the next night and wondered if my accountability partner could smell you on the back of my neck when we gathered in a circle to pray. I hadn’t been honest with her, or very accountable, anyway. Usually, we talked about drinking, which meant she gently asked how my weekend went as I nursed coffee and a hangover. She knew nothing about me. 

"How are you, Em?" she had asked me. "Any prayer requests?"

Father, forgive me, for I have sinned…

I was still going to bible study, but I’d left the Church a long time ago. Somewhere between the polished worship songs and girls wondering if they’d gone too far with their boyfriends, I answered the question myself. It was too much effort to skirt the line, so I drunkenly tripped my way over it. I was tired of waiting for a guy to be impressed with my modesty or Rolodex of memorized bible verses. I was tired of investing in relationships only to be told they were “dating Jesus.” 

I went to a party and kissed a guy by the jungle juice tub. “Come here,” I told him. “It’s my birthday.” It took five minutes compared to five months. His hands slid up my shirt and I forgot about my saving myself for marriage because his mouth felt like a rescue. 

It was Palm Sunday when you texted me again. Church let out onto a fresh blanket of snow and I stood on the concrete, clutching my phone and my palm branch. Each button was a rosary bead as I typed, No more. My morning confession floated up into the winter sky.

Somehow, it was April. 

Fall: a haiku

Summer recedes here

like a bruise, and my lips look 

like an open wound.

Under Pressure: A Haiku


"Honey, you’re looking

(oh, say thin be thin, say thin)

a little tired.”



It was quiet.

I opened my eyes against yellow sheets, fingers stretching up and open. My thumb found a shoulder and turned away.

It was like rebirth and dying all at once. I opened my eyes to your bedroom and felt my sister’s life fall down around me. Her wedding shattered to the floor as my…

et ducit mundum per luce: a haiku


I just spent two hours 

reading a dead girl’s tumblr.

Where are we going?