Cracks

I know nothing about art.
But I know about you.
I know your skin, your hair, your lips.
Bow-shaped, infamous.

"Darling," I said. "Would you like to go to the cinema?"
I know nothing about the cinema.
You hold my heart in your palm, expertly,
Ripped out of me, but still beating.
How do you do that?
The words freeze like icicles on the roof of my mouth.
My jaw cracks with the weight of truth.
I know nothing about anything anymore.

Your back curls into the sun, wolflike.
You ruffle your feathers, hawk.
And me, the delicate fawn. The glass lamb.
Another crack:
We're all still animals.
Another:
I'm drowning.
The last one:
I know nothing about you either.

When We Grow Wings

The rain slid down your broad shoulders, tiny rivers in a canyon of skin, as you smiled at me, hair clinging to your forehead. You lifted me up into your arms and kissed me, soft like snowflakes. "Forever," you whispered. "Always and forever." The image of you disappears, and I remember where I am - everywhere, nowhere. With you, without you. "There is no hope for us, my dear," I whisper, tracing a heart in the slick condensation of my car window. The sky is cloudless blue, smooth glass, and I can see my reflection looking expectantly at me - long wavy hair, full rose lips, melancholy eyes. I hear the humming of a train in the distance and acrid stinging in my shoulder blades. There are fluffy white feathers dotting my dashboard now, and I am a paper being folded. I walk into the melted snow, looking down at my newly-pronged feet, curved with talons. I gaze upward into the hard sun and ruffle my feathers, filled with the profound instinct to fly away. It's too cold here, it's too cold. "Sweetheart, what are you doing?" a mother walks into her daughter's bedroom. "I just finished making this little paper crane," she whispers. She tiptoes to her bedroom window, holding me, the wind tickling the nerves of my sharply creased wings. She lets me go. I close my eyes and propel myself into the sky.

The Loved and the Lost

Freckles sprinkle across my nose as I turn to you and I smile with red velvet lips, I remember. Where are you now? When I close my eyes I can still see your burning silhouette in the dining room, underneath the shimmering stars of my chandelier. And we are little girls again, grinning in sandboxes, your amber curls bouncing as you climb to the top of the slide and declare with flushed pride, "I am the queen!" I weave you a crown of flowers and whisper that there has never been a queen so beautiful - the same words I muttered at your wedding, in the back row. You swore I'd be your maid of honor, I remember. We were teenagers on a road trip to Arizona, wild with rebellion, collar bones peeking through our skin. But that was a long time ago, before the spider-veins ate my knuckles, before revolutions, before saltwater carved stone. I remember, and that is my curse. You kiss him, and marmalade melodies waft through the air, the first notes of a happy marriage. I fold my weathered hands and slip away, filled with the sting of a goodbye never said. And I know my heart may never stop breaking for those two little girls, curled under a flashlight whispering ghost stories to each other in the darkness.

Soft September

Dreams of skeletal trees and spiced coffee line my walls. I take a sip, and the hot cinnamon burns my tongue. The tree trunk is a spinal cord, and its branches are scalpulas, clavicles, and ulnas. The summer is buried underneath the roots, but if you listen carefully, you can still hear the ghosts of summer loves lost, their echoing laughter. Their initials are still carved there, encased in jagged little hearts. I mournfully brush the wood with my fingertips. The skeleton tree bends down and whispers in my ear, "We trees know better than anyone that the seasons always change."

Captivation in Captivity

Inspiration crackles through my veins like sparkling dynamite. I wish I could forget, but memory is an intricate animal whose organs pulsate with all things lost, each heartbeat a reminder of what we can no longer have. Tiny rabbits sit on my window pane and look outside longingly. The city is glittering magic outside my window and I can remember soft skin and laughter. I scoop a fluffy white rabbit into my palm and whisper, "I'm so sorry. You can go outside again soon enough. But right now there are wolves outside and they would love nothing more than to eat you." She looks at me as if she understands, and now I understand too. I am bound by my memories but I am not confined. I have my words and ink and inspiration - freedom shooting through me like stars.

Little Haunting Ghosts

We close our eyes like butterflies
Silky wings whisper goodbyes
Childhood is dying, I hear her cries
We’ll have the funeral in late autumn.

We make little paper sailboats
On seas of coffee they gently float
Innocence is somewhere remote
They’ll find her body in a riverbed.

We like to forget and fantasize
We remember when we close our eyes
My heart is a cigarette burned with lies
We’ll dig ourselves up from the bottom.

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
Sleep tight, my darling.

Sinking Feeling

"Do you ever feel like you're drowning?"
He looked at her, his eyes like crushed green beer bottle glass. His black hair was slicked back, and he gently pulled at his silver cufflinks and thought of his mother's embroidery and chandeliers. He was born into a life of grandeur, but lay awake at night tormented by his emptiness.
She looked at him, her eyes like gray dove feathers, fluffy and hopeful. Her hair was velvet, a beehive on her delicately sloped head, and she thought of her father, who she hadn't seen since she was eleven years old. He left her a heart-shaped glass box on her bedside table.
The truth of it weighted him, pressed against his cracked ribcage. It stung like splinters in soft skin, like rock salt and lemon juice. It ached like nostalgia. It felt like coming home again. He spoke in a whisper.
"All the time."

Portions For Foxes

She was craving cake – buttery soft yellow cake that melted in her mouth. She licked grains of sugar off her lips as she slept. But more than that, she craved a certain wild, untamed infamy, the kind that had her face on magazine covers and tore her to shreds swiftly and cleanly at night. She despised predictability – she couldn’t even watch evening television shows without writhing.
He was craving her – sweetly unkempt hair, feral catlike fingers, and a face he couldn’t get enough of. He felt her breathing against him, quick shallow rabbit breaths compared to his – melodic, slow like dripping honey. As he turned to her sleeping silhouette beside him, he realized he could never truly have her, like feeling your pockets until your fingers are raw for money that isn’t really there.

More Adventurous

Remember when we were great explorers? There are times when I close my eyes and feel myself then, a little girl with melted caramel braids, cocoa powder freckles, and pink pulpy gums peeking out from missing front teeth. Every day was an adventure - a new land to be discovered, an uncharted world. She was the little queen of the forest, unashamed and wild, wearing a tin foil crown and cotton candy ballerina slippers.
How I wish I could be that little girl again. Someday soon, I will be.
Summer is so close. I can feel it slipping through my skin and sneaking through my bones, like laughter, stardust, and fairytales.

The Science of Sleep

"Sometimes, we like to dream of leaving," he said.
"Sometimes, I’d like to leave my dreams," she replied, gently tracing the outline of his face with her fingers. Her silky hair fell to her waist, and he smiled lovingly at her. She smiled back. It was March, and the air was ripe with opportunity. The clouds were marshmallow fluff in the sky, and she wore nothing but a soft tulle skirt and his hands. An ancient gnarled tree stood witness to the Sacred Exchange, and the apples dangling from it fell like golden delicious raindrops onto the floor. He picked one up, admiring its smooth glittering skin, and bit into it with a crunch. The juice slid down his chin. She looked at him, horrified at what he had just done. He stood, extended his palms to her, and whispered, “Darling, this is where I leave you. I will love you forever. Goodbye.”
But all she could remember is sobbing wildly, screaming into his neck over and over again, as he walked away from her to a place she couldn’t be in, a dreamlike place where the apples were ripe all year long.

Candy Coated Dreams

The little girl, with her hair as fine as spun sugar and tiny delicate fingers, swam through her sweet candy coated dreams, ones in which there were sparkling pastries, intricate carousels, and all things soft and pastel. It was a delicious world filled with enchanting secrets, and she thought she might to like to live there forever - inside her lucid, magical mind, where there were no rules, only whispers of delightful possibilties. It was her very own Neverland, the place where her dreams came true, where she could dwell in sweet childhood forever.

Prologue

This is the story of a little girl whose imagination was far too big to be contained. It stretched further than the glittering cosmic animals that dotted the night skies, as she closed her eyes and wished she could fly into those honeyed stars. But her nightgown, light as a cheesecloth, rooted her to the earth. Still, she waited, cupping her palms and gazed into the absence of gravity. She hoped to sprout wings out of her tiny shoulderblades, to dig a hole and wind up in a mystical land, far away from home. And when the dawn appeared, framed by cotton candy clouds, she slipped into her bedroom and read stories about little girls like her - girls who dreamed about escaping. This is that little girl, twelve years later. This is her escape.