Five Poems for the Morning

i feel like these are all terrible and i’m sorry

1:
I was in the middle of thinking,
Big, beasts of thought,
And you and your dog walked up.
So now I’m thinking about you.
The big grand plans my mind makes for you at 7 AM.

2:
I wonder about the man who took a photo of his wife for the back cover of the book I’m reading.
Why did he insist on putting his name on the photo credit?
How did he ask her to pose?
Did she take a long time to get dressed?
Is that how he sees her, slightly stiff and turtle-necked?
Did he look at the photo and think it was good,
Did he put it in context of someone else’s world and think it was okay?
Did he think, well I think she looks perfectly fine, she’s never been gorgeous, but her friends will like this one?
How many photos did she ask him to take?

3:
I’ve done a lot of staring at the plant on the corner of my porch
It’s my yew tree I’m growing in a bucket,
Well a container.
It’s where I look when I’ve woken up too early in the morning,
And don’t want to be on my phone,
So I sit outside, and look at the horizon,
And the plant is in the way.
I wonder if it knows how long I’ve looked at it.
How many of my thoughts it holds,
Or if it even likes being outside.

4:
I told him it’s an empathy issue,
I was tired and he was mad,
And he kept telling me these things I’d only heard people on tv say,
Things like I can call those people whatever I want.
And they can just deal with it, it doesn’t hurt me so it shouldn’t hurt them.
And I thought I was special and still a full person to you, because I was somehow in your circle,
But I’m not, am I? I’m still not fully human, not fully you.

5:
I don’t have time to make cookies.
Or the money to make fudge,
I’d rather just buy something,
Or have someone make it for me,
Mom come make something for me.

Ten Poems of Jumbled Mess

1:
I do not have a big singing voice,
I have this little flitty thing that sounds better with other people.
I will sing with you and make you sound better,
I’m breathy and weak on my own.
I’d really prefer to sing with you and the tape,
Really,
Actually, for most things, I’ll do it by myself, I can do it with a recording if I have to,
But I like it best when I have you there with me.

2:
I like to move through my sliding screen door as quietly as possible in the morning.
Making so little sound,
Socks on the carpet,
So as to not bother the world,
With more sound it doesn’t need.

3:
There’s enough room in there.
There’s got to be enough room, right?
You can love us all enough,
Well, me enough,
You can still love me.
Even after you’re married,
We can stay friends,
And you’ll still take my 2 A.M. calls,
When my family member dies and I don’t have anyone else.
There’s enough room there, right?

4:
My therapist had to tell me,
In effect,
It doesn’t bother me when you share bad things,
You’re not a burden, part of his job,
And that he thinks he doesn’t know how I’m still going on doing all this, meaning life.
Half of me doesn’t believes him, half of me thinks that if I believe him I’ll turn into a monster.

5:
We went on a road trip driving through Idaho.
And I saw the rivers with rocks running below the little thin twisty highway.
Rafting suddenly makes sense. Given how beautiful it is.
I’d sit on a fat, yellow cushion to get an excuse to stare, and tow a beer cooler behind me.

6:
I have so much to do.
I want to spend all morning making a complicated chocolate cake,
Where I’ll have to go to the store twice, once because we didn’t have the right oil, the second because I forgot I was almost out of brown sugar.
But if you told me I had to make the cake,
Suddenly Batman on tv would sound so much more interesting.

7:
I told you, that I’m worried being me will make me lose more friends,
More friend’s wives will ask me to stop messaging them,
Telling me long messages about crossing boundaries, text paragraphs, single spaced.
You say I wouldn’t want to lose you as a friend,
And I cry a little more, because right now you’re not lying, but you will be later.

8:
Introspection is contagious,
I tell someone I think too much about how loud I laugh,
And I can see on their face they’re doing the same.
That’s no good.
Laugh your obnoxious laugh!
Scare those birds!
Don’t mind me with my circle of critical nonsense.

9:
I bought fifty dollars worth of clothes two days ago, and now I can’t buy groceries for a month.
But mom I got a blazer, a real blazer that fits and it’s brown and I’ll look like a real professor,
She says that’s good you deserve it you’re always so good with money.
Fine Mom, I’ll judge myself then if you won’t.

10:
How do you explain the subtext of what someone is saying when they’ve just met them and haven’t known them all their lives?
I called your brother after you,
Is code for, why didn’t you pick up your phone?
You must’ve been out drinking,
Is code for I was worried about you but I don’t want to say anything, and I can’t believe you forgot me, you terrible daughter.
But if you asked, they probably wouldn’t say that, oh no, that’s not what I meant at all!
How do you go about writing that down?

Four Sunday Break Poems

1:
“The last life boat.”
That was the start of a really great thought
I totally lost ahold of.
Oh well.
If it means anything to you,
Let me know.

2:
You were drunk at the northside bars,
The shitty ones, in the planned community,
And I called you back,
And you told me two surprising things.
You like my wispy hair because it reminds you of corn husks.
And that you think I’m a good person.
These are things you don’t say to me when you’re sober.

3:
I sit here and I fight jealousy,
And I fight myself feeling fat.
I actively try and keep my face neutral.
And I have to calm myself down that it’s okay.
I don’t have those entitlements,
You don’t feel that way,
And I have no right to care who’s in your apartment, even if it’s my roommate.
Then I take a walk

4:
I walked five miles up a butte,
But I told my mom I walked up a hill to avoid the jokes about buttes,
And of course, my butt was sore,
It’s been sore all day.
After taking the wrong path down,
The twisty-turny one that makes you do so many hairpins,
And now my butt hurts.
But I was happy while I was there,
Complaining about something.

Ten Poems for Late August This Year

1:
And I’m sad again,
They’re in the living room, and I’m trying to work,
Getting something done that should only take an hour but is taking me three.
I’m sitting on my bed eating snacks
Trying to work,
Still thinking I made a mistake moving away from all those places I recognized
To sit here and read and feel dumb and study.

2:
It’s hard to be around someone who’s smarter than you all the time.
Brighter, faster, funnier.
What’s the fun in that.
Like I get the, surround yourself with smarter people bit,
But like no one really believes that there aren’t some people who aren’t always going to be smarter than you.
But, I don’t want to have to prove myself,
I want to have a conversation with you,
A full conversation,
With the back and forth bit,
Not the information given bit.

3:
I left the boyfriend,
Why didn’t he say anything?
Why is he being antagonist?
I don’t understand.
I want it to be all about me, please.
For just a minute.
Tell me I’m pretty and special.
You didn’t even mention it. I don’t understand.
I’m starting to question myself, was I supposed to …
That always makes me nervous.

4:
What if I don’t want to do a PhD in what I’m studying.
What if I want to write instead,
Bad poetry I post on the internet,
Will they let me do that instead?
Please.
And pay my rent.

5:
It’s 75 degrees and I’m freezing.
I have two sweaters on.
This is what I get for moving from Texas.
To somewhere that gets cold starting in August.
I’m going to die.
Someone please bring me a blanket.

6:
Do you know how much I love you?
The way you’re only nice to me when you’re sad,
And the times when I can hear your dog’s collar shaking in the background,
And you’ll argue with me with your mouth full.
I don’t think you’ve ever felt it, and that’s okay with me.
I’ll hold on to this while it lasts,
And I’m still glad I told you.
Not always but sometimes,
When you’re being ridiculous about how to organize the dishwasher.

7:
I sat crisscross on the floor with my friend,
Who had never been in a library before.,
The libraries outside of the universities,
The regular people libraries.
I said I had to show her my favorite book.
And I found the children’s book my dad loved,
Everyone poops. It’s called.
And we read it on the floor together.
And she thought it was hilarious.
She took a picture to send to her boyfriend.

8:
It suddenly mattered again
How much skin showed between my pants and my ankles,
If my top stopped at the right length,
If my shoes matched in a way I hadn’t cared about.
Since we went back in person.

9:
It’s me who will fly back to my hometown to take care of my mom.
That way we avoid all the drama.
Me and mom.
We do okay together.
We’ll be fine.
Not my brother who lives an hour away,
Or my sister who has the flexible schedule.
Me, half a continent away,
It’s me who’s coming to take care.
And I’m glad it’s me.

10:
I called you for your birthday,
You let me.
I sang as loud as I could.
I loved it.
Did you know that?
How much I love singing badly to you for your birthday.
And I also love how you save all my voice messages I send you.
I really do.

Ten Poems for a Summer Breakup

a bit of a muddle

1:
When I go home,
We’ll just go back to being friends.
I said through sobs. You didn’t disagree.
But then you hugged me for so long at the airport.
And you said you’d mail me my favorite hair clip I left in the door of your car.
And you said you wanted to take a trip with me.
But you don’t think we have a future,
Because I don’t want money the way you do.

2:
I made a whole chicken today.
I went full housewife.
I was going to buy more deli chicken because I made too many sandwiches yesterday.
And thought, well, I can just buy a whole chicken.
It’s cheaper.
Lying to myself I have the time.

3:
I looked at him and felt nothing.
This boy who I left my boy for.
I sat with him,
And nothing,

4:
I remember this one position.
When we were sitting on your couch,
Me making sure we were the first people to have sex on that couch,
Like I made sure we were the first people to have sex on your other couch,
With my thighs around your turned body, sitting there by your unpacked amazon boxes,
A mess of not moving,
Thinking, we’ll never be like this again.
You won’t have this space for me the next time I’m here.

5:
Why did you have to tell me you missed me.
You’re not sentimental, but
You were sleeping on my side of the bed.
You ate all the food I made you.
You said your dog was waiting for me to come back.
You cared more about me when I was gone, than when I was there.
Why couldn’t you have cared when I was so depressed I couldn’t move?
Why couldn’t you have cared when you couldn’t arrange your schedule?
When it was my birthday?

6:
I told you, you know, I love you sometimes.
Not all the time but sometimes,
While we were doing dishes.
Rather you were doing dishes for me.
And you were so tired you weren’t quite working right.
And I felt it, so I said it,
So I didn’t regret it later.

7:
Am I driving you away?
I think those were your actual words.
While we were eating tacos at my sister’s favorite food truck.
I couldn’t say anything, think of anything.
You said, your silence says it all.
I wonder if she overheard us, the lady who made our lunch.

8:
I write it down because the depressed person’s short-term memory is shot.
That’s why I’m writing everything down.
It’s not some trying to be better than you competition, be the better note taker,
It’s because I probably won’t remember if I can’t find it somewhere.

9:
All I wanted to do was sit with you,
Your legs on my lap,
And listen to Astral Weeks, with nothing else to do.
No one who would call,
No plans to take my time.
I wanted to feel something at the same time you did.
I thought maybe someone else’s rhythm could help with that.

10:
We worked so well, that last week.
So well.
I made food, and you ate it, and complemented it, and were nice about it.
And I kept thinking maybe it’s a mistake.
You said, in our postmortem relationship phone call,
It would have worked if we weren’t far apart.
If you were depressed, if your mental health were better.
I thought, maybe, but maybe we never would have started.
We never even had to come up with a how we met story.

10 Poems on Traveling Back

talk to me

1:
The city smells the same you know,
That really distinct smell of hot trash,
And smelling like it needs to rain, but hasn’t.
The highways move in the same swirls.
The buildings seem to be newer and there might to be more of them now.
I forgot that the heat stays around all day, and doesn’t take the hint to leave when the rest of the days guests are departing.
I forgot what it was to walk outside and have the shirt stick to your back. Instantly.
I forgot the colors people wear here, the pinks and blues that you don’t see near Seattle.
Mostly, I forgot how lonely this city is when you’re poor and cannot afford to go anywhere.

2:
He picked me up from the airport,
Even though I had to change my flight time.
I wasn’t expecting to land,
I wasn’t expecting to make it on the plane.
I’d heard people say before it all feels like a dream,
But never felt it myself before,
Are these really my hands back in this city?
Are those really my shoes?
Did he really give me a hug?
And then leave me on my own?

3:
Watching someone buckle or unbuckle their belt,
Clicks my brain into what-if’ing.
Even buttoning or unbuttoning their pants,
In the living room,
On the couch,
Checking the loops before walking out the door.
Draws my eye.
And my body.
So I stare, every time.

4:
We’re getting drinks on Friday,
With people I haven’t seen since, was it Christmas before covid hit?
Dinner on Wednesday,
I’ve got a tour scheduled of one of those homes an architect owned and mosaic’d himself.
There’s concert tickets I’d like to buy,
And a trail I’d like to walk again.
And, oh, that one restaurant that survived the pandemic has their patio open.

5:
I haven’t been able to work.
I tell myself this,
I tell myself that,
I calm myself down trying every trick my therapist knows.
And here I sit, in front of my computer, or book, or phone.
Unable to do anything.
Thinking through mud, moving through molasses.

6:
Eavesdrop and people watch.
Those are your goals in the terminal.
You can try to read, or get something done,
But it never works,
You can’t even watch out the plane window.
Learn about what semi-conductor job the person in front of you does.
Be a nosy old lady for a few hours.

7:
I didn’t feel anything when I saw you but confused,
And trying to figure out how to act.
What was I supposed to do.
Can I put my feet up on your seat.
Wait I have to call my mom.
And you haven’t even looked at me yet,
Except to knock my glasses off.
Was I supposed to respond to that?
And you telling me you had to go back to work.

8:
You won’t still like me
By the time I get back,
You’ll have been on date three with the ice cream shop girl,
Who elbowed her coworkers about you,
And your huckleberry flavor I’m sure.
The girl who liked to hear about the history of the Idaho star garnet
Will have decided you’re the one for her.
And I’ll think about your curls from over here.
Forever.

9:
I take the 803 to get to your apartment,
The northbound,
It’s a five-minute walk,
Then I know how to get to you from there.
I’ve got the pass on my phone.
It’s planned in my head,
It’s just whether or not I can do it,
Get myself up from sitting when the time comes to start moving.

10:
She talked to me the whole way there,
At 4:30 AM on the winding path from our town to the airport,
So nice of her to drive me,
And it was going to be her first time driving my car,
When she went back.
She talked to me about odds and bobs, her family and how smoky it was because of the fires.
I’m not sure if people don’t take her seriously,
Or if she flies under their radar or what.
She works so hard,
I’m just not sure if the sense, the common sense, the practical nature, whatever,
Is there to back her up.

Ten Poems for July

forgive me

1:
He got married,
The boy, the one who said,
I don’t want to be with just one woman,
I don’t do well with those kinds of commitments.
Why are those the hardest to take, I should be happy for my now friend, my former lover, who I know still is attracted to me. I don’t even want to be with him.
He didn’t tell me, warn me,
Even though we made plans together on our birthday.
Did he propose?
I would have given them a gift goddamit.
Were his kids there?
Did he tell her he loved her?
Is this envy? Sadness? Judgement of myself? Contempt?
I can’t even name it, all the feelings go by so quickly.
Why was he in a blue suit?
What do I do now when he dirty texts me? Will she look into his phone?

2:
I asked my friend,
How he deals with that kind of thing,
When an ex gets married,
After telling you something different,
Realizing it was you all along, that they didn’t feel that way about, just you.
He said he categorizes, not compartmentalized, categorizes.
He said there are buckets he sorts things into,
Hurts or not hurts.
I asked him which one I was in?
He didn’t give me an answer.

3:
And she looks just like me.
He liked me because I was his type.
That feels so degrading, to be liked for your body type, so inhuman,
The person inside doesn’t really count, no, not really, it’s just those thighs.
To see someone who looks just like me,
Right there.
In the white.
On Facebook,
When he wouldn’t even tell his friends about us, were we an us?
Why did she have to look just like me? How rude.

4:
What if all that time ago,
I’d given him the other reading,
The other tarot reading,
The one he made the decision based on,
The one he used to get back with her.
What if I had told him instead, the cards said to get back with me.
Would I have been enough?
Or would we not be together, because I wouldn’t have pushed him,
Pushed him for commitment.

5:
You don’t have to hear about my day.
Naw, it’s alright.
I remember you said that you just don’t have the energy to listen to me or deal with my problems, you’re too busy.
I’m sold for an extra 50 cents on the side.
You don’t have to tell your parents about us, I don’t need to meet them,
You don’t take us that seriously anyway,
And besides you’re so far away,
That concession is definitely worth, what, a dollar?
And it’s money you care about at the end of the day, right?
You can only take care of your people if you have your money, right?
How much am I worth to you, hmm?
Not even a concession of an evening.
What bottom scraping scraps do you have for me that I can thank you for?
A birthday card?
A pizza you ordered me?
Sure. That’s good enough to live on.
If I asked nothing of you, and said please for each dropped piece of popcorn, I don’t think you’d love me anymore.
I’m not your it.

6:
There is something beautiful about switching on an old computer,
Hey this thing isn’t worthless,
I’m not worthless.
I haven’t seen this off gray color on a monitor in a while.
I have to push in a turbo button to get out of DOS mode.
I haven’t heard those sounds in a while,
It still reads the 3 ½ inch floppy disks.
Maybe it’s half curiosity,
Have exploration,
Half archelogy,
And half proving to ourselves that even if we’re as old as the clanky keyboards,
Someone will still save us.

7:
I’m playing a game with him.
Yes I know that’s a bad idea.
I even know it’s a bad sign.
To see if he remembers to celebrate my birthday.
To see if he cares enough.
I don’t know what I’m proving to myself or him.
I’m just not going to remind him.
I’m not going to bring it up.
Just to see what happens.
To try.
Maybe I want the attention and guilt he’ll feel when he forgets,
Maybe I want a sign he cares.
He’ll figure it out quickly after, what, the third call I get that day?
Maybe he’ll say I assume you didn’t want to celebrate it.
Maybe I want the moral high ground clear and fair and square.
Why am I testing him? I don’t know,
Looking for an excuse to leave and be with the curly-haired boy?
I’m not sure.
I want that power over him of knowing he’s forgotten one more thing,
And maybe this one more thing will be the thing he’ll finally start organizing himself for,
My missed birthday for the second year in a row, will be why he finally starts to schedule.

8:
I’m a bad plant keeper,
I don’t check the water or nitrite levels enough
I’m never sure when to fertilize.
“But you care and that’s what matters.”
No, it’s not, keeping the damn things alive probably matters more to them than how I feel.
I killed my friend’s cactus once, I’ve never gotten over it.
Me. Responsible for all that death.
Even plucking the leaves to help it keep its shape.
I turned that brown me. And my deadly fingers.

9:
All I want to do is research,
Says the woman who can’t even do the research she’s paid to do,
Instead she pretends she’s working and hides in her room,
So that the days blur together before the big report is due.
And it’s just like it used to be,
When I couldn’t move for feeling guilty.
Will there be anything I can do without all this muck dragging behind me?
Even brush my teeth?

10:
Your sister is having a hard time,
She called me to say,
Her husband isn’t doing what she knows will help him.
He’s not listening to her.
Not listening to her unsolicited advice,
Coming from a place of comparison not love,
He is a little like me, in that we’d prefer to fail in anonymity quietly, on our own.
Otherwise, leave him alone.
Or wait, is it me I’m putting in that slot,
Me who she wouldn’t leave alone to make her own failures.
Let me fall on my own please.
I too, would like to live.

Ten Poems for Summer

i don’t know what to make of it either

1:
Safe. I told you.
After you said that you have trouble to talking to pretty girls.
I said you wouldn’t have that problem with me.
You said, “don’t you remember the first couples sentences I said to you?”
I said I just remember you were safe.

2:
I found myself uncaring about promises,
That had meant so much, so much.
When I was alone, wanting that stability, to know I had a place and a title, with a boy.
I found someone I liked.
Do you know how hard it is to find someone I like?
Who automatically understood,
I didn’t have to explain things to,
Didn’t have to burden them with the knowledge of all my trauma,
They got it.
I’ve never liked someone else while I was with someone else before.
This is a new one on me.
Decisions to make, I guess, assuming fate stays on my side.
Chance it for nothing? Or stay with the angry one?

3:
What am I doing,
Calling this late at night,
For talk through the phone I would never say if I weren’t sleepy,
Playing with the edges of the knife.
Please just help me feel.

4:
My professor uses jumps scares to test your biometric response.
He says “Boo” really loudly.
They don’t think about PTSD responses to these sorts of things,
Or these fireworks going off tonight.
I get teased for jumping if I’m deep in thought.
Or pushy relatives who want a hug, when I don’t like to be touched.
The loud clapping to call your dog.
I’m constantly vigilant for what will set me off,
One more filter to add to the pile.

5:
What will it be like to be with you?
Are you a kind lover?
Am I making a mistake?
Will we instead have no química?
Will you not like to kiss, or think I should shave more than I do?
Will that one spot on your neck taste like what I think it will?
Will my thighs turn out to be too big?
Will your dog stare too much?
Will your meds let it go through?
What if you’re the perfect height?
What if your hair curls exactly the way I want it to?
What if you look at me like that forever?
What if I hurt you?
What if I snap and yell?
I have to get myself sorted first.
I should have gotten myself sorted out first,
Before I sent those texts.
Am I really thinking about leaving him?
For a chance?
A chance at touch?

6:
What will it be like to see you again?
Will your mouth attack me again?
Will I be put up in one of your houses?
Will you drive me up north to see my friends?
Will you let Grace eat pizza on your couch?
Will I be able to sleep again?
Or will I walk your paver stones in the backyard until I can rest?
Where will I talk too loud?
Who will I love?
Do you even remember how I feel to touch?
Will you call me fat again, well not fat exactly,
Tell me again how I’m not your type, meaning chubby?
Or un-makeuped?
Will you just be drunk again?
And order food all the time?
Fight with me again that women shouldn’t be believed straight off.
Tell me I’m not worth your time with deed and action.
What if what I will makes it true.
What if all I do is cook for you?
What then, is a month too long?
What if the summer isn’t enough?
Will you let me drive?

7:
I can’t get it out of my head.
You said you’d think about me every day.
You knew how powerful that was, I hope?
I hope I’m nice in your memory,
Or your new created fantasies.

8:
There’s a check I can’t cash from my father
For money for a hotel room to escape the heat bubble
Because we don’t have air conditioning in this part of the world.
I can’t cash it.
It’s too much.
I didn’t buy the air conditioner either.
Too scary.

9:
I can’t brush my teeth today.
I couldn’t water my plants yesterday.
You can’t see the floor of my room this evening.
I can’t eat properly anymore.
I want to be a magical pretty number that means I’m healthy.
I have a pile of work I haven’t started.
A boy I haven’t called,
Money I haven’t organized.
And love I haven’t spent.

10:
Say you’ll like me until August?
Please just put a pin it in for me?
I can’t ask,
But it’s all I want to do.
Love me just a little,
Little enough to wait.

Ten Poems for Summer

i think i’m done for now.

1:
I don’t know how to ask you to understand.
All my mystical powers of communication sort of fail me here.
How do I tell you to care?
Listen to me tell my own story?
Not while you’re just waiting to respond.
If you don’t want to come with me into my space,
Into what I’ve been through,
Is it worth it?
Should I just leave it.
Instead of begging for empathy.

2:
Let’s try anyway.
I’m not saying my pain is worse than yours, just understand me.
Don’t rebuttal, or talk back,
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me now?
Please, listen without judgement, to learn more about me,
Not to compare to you,
Just to hear me.
I’d beg you to hear me,
Because I, in my pride, think you would get it if you understood.
Maybe you understand already, and you just don’t care.

3:
The first time a man slapped my ass,
I was 10.
And I stopped and stared at him, a family member.
My mother said, she’s just not used to that yet.
As I went to grab them another beer.
Him with his trucker hat on, dentures out.

4:
My dad touched my hip when I was 11,
Through my shirt, while I was laying on the couch.
Saying my waist was coming in.
I didn’t know what that meant.
I thought I had been laying on my side too much and my ribs were caving in.
Like I thought my feet were flat because I wore skater shoes with no support on the bottom.

5:
My mother accused me of self-harming at 14,
Because she saw me in the shower,
And my stretch marks on my chest looked like scratch marks.
You can damn well bet no one told me those were normal.

6:
My gender segregated sex-ed class asked who hadn’t started their period,
Only me and one other girl raised our hands,
The next year no one raised their hands, so I kept mine down.
I wouldn’t start my period for three more years.
I was so scared back then that I was broken I would hit my pelvis, convinced it was broken.
I just wanted to run fast and have a boyfriend.

7:
My mom took me to JCPenney’s to get my first bra,
Even though “there was nothing there”
She was angry the regular section didn’t have bras small enough,
She yelled at a saleswoman,
We went to the kids section for training bras,
She refused to buy me one that fit.
Touching me saying there should be gaps here.
So instead I got my dad to get me one while we were at Walmart
It was a white band and it had an ice cream print on the white cloth strip in the middle
I wore that until both straps broke.
No one told me how often to wash it. Or that I was supposed to wear it every day.

8:
I had a five-dollar bet with my stepdad that by 16 I wouldn’t be all into the makeup stuff.
I never was.
Maybe out of spite for him.
Thinking I was going to turn out a certain way.
I used to put eyeshadow on one half of my eyelid only, because I thought that’s what you were supposed to do. On the days when I wore the blue polos to school, because navy blue was the coolest color.
My sister would mock me for wearing anything other than black,
And mom couldn’t afford, or remember to buy me, any beauty products.
I was using my brother’s baby shampoo until I went to college. Only wearing makeup to prom.

9:
I gained fifty pounds when I started puberty.
I was still getting taller.
I didn’t know how to eat meals.
I’d been packing my own lunch since the 2nd grade.
My sister tried to teach me how to throw up,
And my brother would eat everything he could, to “get a belly like dad”
I hid chocolate under my pillow my mom would find when she slept in my room because her husband was being awful.
She’d tell me it was okay I was gaining weight she still loved me.
But she would watch me eat every mouthful and ask me how I was doing with it,
And tell me I looked skinnier every time she saw me,
Each time I was gaining weight.

10:
I can’t stop thinking about how different my life would have been if I’d been told.
I’d like to blame my mom a little bit, for some of the trauma of me as an adult,
Maybe he wouldn’t have touched me if …
But I’ll die still blaming myself, so there’s that.
Never sharing this kind of stuff with boys I love,
Because when I have in the past,
It gets compared to how hard they’ve had it too.