Today I remembered my algebra book
flying across the room,
my father shouting I was stupid,
a dumb girl, because I couldn’t do math–
and all because you are leaving,
I’m calculating numbers,
totaling years, even
working out equations:
If x + 1 = 2, what is the value of x alone?
All day I’ve been thinking about
word problems: If a train travels west
at the speed of 60 miles per hour
against a thirty mile per hour wind, how fast
will you be gone?
Today I’ve added and subtracted,
multiplied and divided. I’ve mastered
fractions. Even that theorem
I could never understand — plus 1
plus minus 1 equals zero–is perfectly clear.
Then just when I think I’ve finally
caught on, a whiz kid now, a regular
Einstein, suddenly the numbers
betray me. No matter how many times
I count the beads on the abacus, work it out
on the calculator, everything comes
Mute and fractured, a dumb girl again,
I sit alone at my desk, staring
out the window, homework
incomplete. A square root unrooted,
I contemplate infinity.
— diane lockward
Post with 1 note
That night streaked new understanding across my skies,
just a few petty shades off of your hair, and here we are,
three months later, expecting slaps to no longer sting.
We’ve both been the prodigal child for too long.
Both too academic. Both too charming for our own good,
able to swindle and swish away consequences.
But a volcano and a roaring beast meet in a land of
inescapable drought. Who wins? Or is it a question
of mere survival, hoarding water, see who gives in
at the last? What if the other isn’t the enemy at all?
All the moments of discord, immortalized. Days where
I only wanted you to burn, the magma to scorch
your insides. The time in the front of your house.
Midnight, Thanksgiving. Crying on your lawn with
your best friend’s pity: asphyxiation by aggravation.
Gaps in memory. Rewritten. The cafeteria confrontation.
Revised. We tidy up the fractured arguments into
a creature with meaning, a parrot with a list of phrases:
I don’t regret it.
We were never going to get married, you know.
I thought those things were implied.
Okay. If you insist.
I insist. Darling, I insist.
This is not one more battle, another morning I waste
obsessed with picking at scratches.
It’s a siren song you forgot to forget.
These fights are not oxygen. Our words cannot restore.
We place band-aids on gushing wounds.
Give me space to heal.
Post with 3 notes
So this is how it feels to self-destruct. Strangely refreshing, you know, after all that responsibility. We’re standing in a group of friends, studiously avoiding eye contact, and fifteen minutes later, we’re hidden behind your car, my hand pressed flat against your chest, right below where I imagine your heart to be. There is a time for gentle exploration but that time is not now—now, it’s all hurried contact, the exposed skin above the waistband of my jeans so unbearably hot despite the chilly temperature, and your eyes half-glazed as they slide across my collarbone, just this side of explicit. We’re the genius children with the bright futures—perhaps the two most successful in our year, almost a matched set, both with the too-blue eyes, the loud laughter, the shameless overconfidence laid latent in our demeanor. You’ve been toeing the fine line of perfection and destruction for years now, and I know this, but I am new to this game, to the oblique glances across our crowded second block classroom, the unbearably weighty sensation of your fingers on my hipbone, my back arched against your blazing-white car. It is remarkable, the implications we’ve squeezed into mundane interaction, how those restrained and measured risks turn into skin-on-skin contact so quickly when we’re alone. With months until our final departure, spring blooms bright, too bright—too heated to last—but graceless and stumbling as ever, I will savor each one of these glittering shards of a relationship.
Post with 2 notes
how do people initiate casual sexual relationships like “hey there, i understand you have a lengthy and oft-unmentioned interest in sleeping with me, and i am just here to tell you that i return the sentiment” and just ughhhhh
Post with 4 notes
The news reporters all wear your face, so watching
is a tempestuous dive into your world. Some day, I’d
like to see a man and think of him as a distinct being—
not as a member of your gender. Rerouting all my thoughts
“in terms of you,” the seventh grade algebra approach.
Put this equation in terms of that variable. Put this life
in terms of that boy.
When I go downstairs, there’s a cup with days-old milk
on the stairs, now soured. The cat cries from the corner.
I wonder how long it’s been since I’ve looked up
from my books, my shows, the trappings of effective
avoidance. In a dim bedroom somewhere I no longer
know, you’re beating Luigi’s Mansion for the eleventh time.
You flick to the news. The caster, resplendent in
a ruby suit, has my name. You think idly that it is
a common name indeed. Then you go back to
your game, wondering about the next day’s weather.
I would hate you, if I’d ever known how. I’d tear at
your tawny hair, rake long nails across your back,
and then turn away effortlessly, having forgotten you
altogether. The violence appeals to me, I suppose,
but in the end, all I really want is some old-fashioned
apathy, the ability to deconstruct your movements
until they lose magnetism. I want to forget the angling
of your chin, the peculiar quiet of your contentment,
how your voice shook when you said you held no regrets.
Thank you for saying that. You didn’t have to.
Post with 5 notes
—reading letters I can imagine receiving you from you. And it’s okay that you make me sick to my stomach, it’s okay that you can bowl me over with little to no effort. It’s not okay that you pretend you’re completely unaffected. Unless you’re actually completely unaffected. And even then, I’d love for you to pretend I impacted something other than your gag reflex.
Post with 23 notes
danced around the truth
with such deliberation
that we can’t see where it is—
the lights are off and the
last song is on and i can’t
dance with your eyes like
that, so obvious in their focus,
scanning the scratches
across my collarbone as if
your fingers didn’t cause
them. with your outline
only vaguely visible in front
of me, you look like a
caricature of another person,
a more full one, perhaps capable
of speaking or closing
distance or something else
i could find useful,
and it’s the bottom of the ninth,
the eleventh hour, but nothing
ever really changes, not really;
if i fell during the next spin,
if you dipped me an inch too low
and i careened into the gleaming
wood, i know, you wouldn’t be here
when i looked up.
Post with 2 notes
I can’t do this to myself anymore. I’m done. Beyond done. I deleted your number and all our old conversations. I’m shaking. I’m hysterical. I’m finished. You’ve treated me with impressive carelessness, and I’ve sat, shamefaced, allowing it to go on. Why? Because I thought I deserved it. Because I know I’m not perfect all the time, that some degree of nastiness is merely human. Even as you crossed every line I set, I still told myself I was overreacting, that I just needed to give you time. Done. I’m not going to sit and simper by your side, sit and reaffirm every good thing you’ve ever thought about yourself—please, read this and weep. I am done. I am leaving. I won’t come back.
Post with 3 notes
the beasts lunge and lurch against too-weak bars and all your chains, darling, they never amounted to much, so here i am, emaciated, no less of a monster than those things, just one more creature willing to shake the entire world for a second of your attention. fed by your glittery residue, i subsist on the hope of your presence, rendered mute in the first moments of a conversation, that impossibly loud smile that speaks of your unwilling fondness. there is a part of my mind that races and rages and frightens all that come near, but you’re not afraid of the shivers, dear. the kind of boy whose attention is not so easily swayed. i’ve been muted and manipulated and left to fend for myself, but no encounter has won my acquiescence so easily. here i am, here i am, devoid of substance, not yet molded, waiting for you. i am too hollow to protest your most outrageous requests. my teeth are sharp but unused, but even that potential will slip away with the long months ahead, the last in a long series of capitulations.
Post with 6 notes
I’m sorry I never could tell you about the boy two summers ago, the one that used my hair like a steering wheel, my naivety like an open gate. It would have explained that night in your basement perfectly. I’m sorry I couldn’t kiss you. It wasn’t your fault. I’m still bruised in places your eyes are too distinguished to check. I used to love the fact that you could profess affection for me despite a criminally incomplete rendering of who I’d been. Now, the thought makes me sad. And I’m sorry about the sadness too.
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