It's a creeping painA slow patient pain The layers thicken Before they flake

Her hiding place dissolves The past becomes now Her hands become putty Weakness cradled by pain

She is numb Held hostage by unconsciousness His want replaces love Her love replaces anger

An inebriate coupling A black mark on a porcelain surface Giving in giving up As hope melts to softness

She sleeps in the bosom of regret But upon awakening Her hands are strong again Recovered by night's forgiving embrace.

The Popular Boy

Written for Trifecta Quiet little Kat had 16 years of living under her cinched belt when she caught the eye of Rory Reynolds. The boy who ran the popular crowd with a toss of his shaggy blonde bob. The teacher had assigned Rory and Kat as partners in Food Tech. Together they burnt the creme brûlée and over-salted the croissants and devoured shiny cinnamon rolls. He got frisky and grabbed her wrist to lick stray icing off of her pinky finger, no thicker than a pencil. The act of wrapping his rugged hand around her childlike wrist aroused desire in an unnatural place. He could snap her in half by flexing his football-enhanced arm. He wanted to know how small every part of her would be.

"There's a party on Saturday. At Chuck Fisher's house. You should come."

"I don't know him."

"He's my buddy. I can invite whoever I wanna."

"I'm not much of a party girl."

His fingers continued to encapsulate her wrist. He turned her hand around and began tracing the creases on her palm with his finger.

"You can bring a friend."


He scribbled his number on the back of her hand, blue pen scraping blue veins.

"Call me if you want a ride."

She enlisted her best friend to tag along, a heavy girl with greasy bangs and thick glasses. They sat in the corner like spies, like mice so tiny they were invisible. Until Rory took her by the wrist to an upstairs bedroom with yellow walls. He pinned her against the bed, his breath severe with stale whiskey. He kissed her and she kissed him back. When he started tugging on her jeans, she asked him to stop.

"Let me go!"

He grunted. She thrashed.


Moans converged, pleasure festooned by pain.

"You're an animal!"

He looked up and growled.

"You better believe it."


image via

Stretch Marks

My stretch marksAre fairy scratches Visible and invisible

Like a fine feather Tickling my inner thighs My lower back and my hips

They are tattoos Passive self-mutilation Stuffing my body with more

They are me My past my present Pointing towards my future

They are not me I am a different woman Than the girl I used to be

Pinstripe reminders Warnings of weakness Branding my skin

Battle wounds Between me and myself Heal but never disappear.


Written for Trifecta. The prompt is to use the third definition of "fly." "I'm here," the little one announces, chest taut with hope.

His mother ignores him as easily as she flouts the tax man. She's talking on the phone and looking out the window, running fingers through broken yellow hair. She speaks in a low voice sweet like honey, whispering secrets and lies, topped with whipped cream and cherries.

"Who're you talking to, mommy?" But he knows the answer already: the clients. Every time he asks to become one, she lights up a cigarette and blows the smoke in his face until he coughs. He'll cough forever if she'll keep looking at him.

He says, to no one in particular, "I'm hungry, mommy." He bites his lip, it's almost as chewy as a gummy worm. He approaches his mother. He stands close enough to smell her perfume. Roses fused with nail varnish. His favorite scent in the world.

She turns away from him so that her bottom is in his face. Ripe and round as a peach. He can't help it. He's so hungry. He bites her in the ass. She drops the phone as her arms fly into motion, swatting at him with both hands. He runs away, the screen door slamming in her face. She doesn't follow him.

He hides behind the neighbor-man's truck where no one can see him. The man's belly is so big that the boy thinks there might be a baby inside even though his mother says only girls can grow babies. He watches as the man grills hot dogs, one after another. He drools like the skinny mutts who roam the trailer park, the dogs too ugly to feed, or love.

When the man drops a hot dog onto the gritty earth, he doesn't shout "dammit!" or "fuck!" Instead, he peers into the shadows where the boy hides and he calls to him.

"Hey boy, do you want this one?"



Aim, throw, hit
Pierces my chest
I shout but I sound like nothing
The walls are sound-proof, eye-proof
And escape-proof
Trapped forever within
Life's longing for itself.

Rolling across blades of grass
I pretend they are tippy tops of trees
And I am God's yellow face
The moon is my best friend
So I ask for the clouds to part
For the answers to crawl out of
Darkness, into somewhere bright
For interpretation.

My arms shield my eyes instead of
My chest which takes the blow
All bone and fragile tissue,
But not even sound-proof glass
Can stop me from seeing
Outside. Where nothing makes sense
Except for our stories and
The sun, but only when it shines.


Black coffee sweatArmpits moldy Whisky shit Eyes varicose gray

Wrinkled knee caps Nits clinging Scabby lips Nose drips red

Bones protrude white Cavities hungry Purple nails Crescent-shaped spine

Nappy curled sweater Underwear cut Soulless shoes Shit-stained pants

Stomach scraping whining Fingers fumbling Cracked toes Fissures pulsing pain

Mind body numb Spirit fighting Choked heart Hands stretched searching.

Champagne bath.

Written for Trifecta. She soaked in a bath tub topped off with a bottle of champagne too flat to drink. She held a book in one hand and a hand-rolled cigarette in the other. She burned candles, their flames balanced on all four corners like controlled suicide threats.

Still holding the accoutrements, she submerged her head, allowing alcoholic bath water into her nose, ears and mouth; while locking her eyes shut like windows. She decided to count the seconds.

At the same moment she hit ten, the ten-second countdown began. Her drunken neighbors shouted from the apartment below, echoing through the walls, through the water, invading the perverted hideaway of her thoughts.

Ten! Nine! Eight! Seven! Six! Five! Four! Three! Two! One!

She broke the surface, squeezing air into the very bottom of her lungs, and it was not unlike being born. She heard, though she wished she didn't, bells and explosions and the silence of a far-away kiss. Exhaling every last drop, she completed her first breath of the year.

On her second breath, she dragged on the cigarette and resumed the novel where she'd left off. She was free of anticipation as she lived in the shadow of expectation. Everything that mattered was behind her, or so she believed.


Marshmallow pebbles and pixie dust.

Written for Trifecta When he walked out that door, he closed it behind him like he was sneaking away f0r another midnight tryst with one of the girls, not realizing I awoke every time he cleared his throat.

I wished he would slam it with the same force he used when we were fighting and the fighting turned to fucking, eyes wild and wrists bound. I wanted to run after him and shout the insults I'd written in my head in as much detail as a sonnet. But he didn't disturb the neighbors with their sleeping babes, so I didn't, either. That's always how it was. I didn't do anything without his permission.

He packed his suitcase, which I'd given to him last Christmas, like he was preparing for another trip to New York City, counting socks and matching outfits. Black and black. Blue and brown. The same colors as the bruises on my arm. His dark eyebrows cinched together, calculating his most prized possessions, like a mother gathering family photos and ancient heirlooms before the fire swallows them whole. Except for he had a lot more time. He had everything in the world, including time. Including me.

Though he took with him only what fit in that single thrift store suitcase, once he'd left, the apartment was hollow. Like my mother's eyes after she'd died. Like the two year old baby down the hall who didn't walk or talk. Like the clouds that hovered but never washed our dirty alleys.

I clawed open the medicine cabinet to find it empty; the pills like marshmallow pebbles and the powders like pixie dust were as gone as my husband. I searched in every crack, every shadow, every pocket for redemption. For secret money, for a water-marked love note, for a sign that my life wasn't over.