excerpts from Reasons to Cry

I. Because I wasn’t there when my dog died.

i swear i sometimes hear you screaming in my sleep

i see your brittle bones piled in the backyard

i wake up smelling your matted hair like fleas and mud

and i miss you so much i howl

 

i would have howled for you

i would have squeezed breath back into your ribs

i would have cradled your battered tail until it moved again

i would do it all over

 

i would do it all over

but this time you’d have food and blankets
and i’d kiss away your shrieks
and i’d run my fingers across your cracked skin

i would do it all over
if i could take back killing    you

II. Because I’m not sure where home is.

when i was too rounded out to be called beautiful

you kissed my toes like you worshipped me

you lapped at my back like making love

you soothed my tired eyes with cool waves

 

but goddamn you’re dirty

and they’re so dirty

like shards of ceramic caked in dirt

i could never go back there

in good conscience

 

coldwater creek, i am a goddess

mermaid siren with luminescent scales

and you are only a brown stream

too close to my father’s house

 

i have to run away

because i was always more an ocean girl

i have to fight with the hammerheads and great whites

 

but, coldwater creek, i’ll be damned if i don’t miss you

 

III. Because my ex-partner confused pain with pleasure.

 

i am a crimson-leaking gory mess of a little girl

low skirt swinging round my ankles

 

you cut me where i was the softest

traced your fingers across my cheeks

leaving a trail of my own blood

 

i let you lap your tongue against my doughy stomach

but you left bright red crescent marks

where your teeth tore away my flesh

 

i am a crimson-leaking gory mess of a little girl

and you taught me how to hurt

 

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