an old short story

I recently discovered a short story I wrote in high school…


Steam spiraled from my travel coffee mug and I jerked my head around to stay awake. These late nights were rough. The first few months were sort of exciting, traveling around the country with no one to bother me. I especially liked L.A., seeing pretty girls in high heels showing it all on the side of the street. I had picked a few up along the way, and I wistfully considered the pleasure of a warm body.

Months later, the thrills had worn off and 16 hours days on the road had drained me.


the things we don’t say

I’ll shroud us in conditionals,
like a rubber glove rolling over the disquiet
in you, in me,
carefully cloaking wounds before they weep.

When I say, “I’ll be fine no matter what happens”
while smiling and pulling you closer,
it’s tough elastic latex being dragged over
past lesions bent on splitting.

The breathing shallows with lack of oxygen,
but it’s hygienic, and we remain in tact,

for now, for as long as the traction lasts.

the living we do

The flags are all worn at the top of their poles-
tattered cloth snaps at itself
like bickering, abandoned children.
There’s a madness to it-
how time wears the fabric, fades colors.

I am always barely escaping
the wearing and fading.
It’s what I do. I look in long angles,
and depending on where I’m standing,
and with whom,
the light gives me back my form.

But, sometimes there is this great rippling wake
that follows me into the darkest corners,
rolling over my skin,
lapping at the quietest layers
where you have recently been.

I lie as still as I can.

It is the inevitable way that darkness
becomes your mouth on mine,
or the sensations you’ve left behind
when I close my eyes to feel the weight of you.

It’s the way taking means giving,
spreading without smothering…
tasting you, the pulsing liquid professions:
“you are alive you are alive you are…”
…every savory shudder a reminder

that the living we do
protects us from wearing and fading,

that the living we do
matters more than the promises we make…

and if the darkness closes in too heavily,
I’ll remind myself that we’re good at the living.