my brother has an anniversary coming:
I’m looking  for checks
counting my reasons for staying,
for running the other way.
I have overdue things.
recycling and wrinkles and Kombucha bottles
pile up
and the hairballs on the floor,
I avoid without cleaning sometimes.
make a zig zag to the door
where I cast spell:
the fits of importunity,
little raps at my neighbors door

                             sugar, that’s all

that make me wish I had chosen the life of a mendicant
but my knees always hurt.
I have unchecked messages everywhere:
voicemail reminders and
grandma’s leukemia is pretty bad and
I’m rotten and everywhere like her snaking
liver spots.
Mom bought me a new chain to carry him on.
I’m allergic to anything that looks like silver
but doesn’t hold its weight,
including nickel-painted gold
so I’ve gotten good at tearing things apart
to see what they’re made of.
And the red spots line my throat, white dabs of cream and my
strapless dress     taking out my earrings to dance
with the new one who laughs with
stormy intention,
and I’m obsessed with the way men
strangle anything dear to them,
the way I run right into their butcher shop
and ask if they can 

                 I want to hear the way I plead from inside of you

finish me.
I got a new mural and icing lips
and white teeth.
No mercury caps unless you include
my orbiting lips.
Dream of Christmas, cinnamon buns and him choking out an
“I love you”
with my color by numbers.
I’m remembering hugging an unnamed kitten and
trying to hold onto
this feeling.
I didn’t get impermanence,
just a new bike every year
to run away from home.
And suddenly my phone chokes out a reminder that the living are
hunting me.
I’m hunting something else

My heels in the dirt, his hand in mine,
smile
I say for no one.
Nail polish named “kerosene” and
gums as red as love.
My hair is auburn in the sun
and today is partly drizzle and partly
made up in my head.

          Congratulations, baby, you made it.

Wet cheeks and leftover streamers and trick candles
and weak knees when I’m
bobbing to the rhythm.
Polaroids on the table and girls that try to
tell me secrets.
I tell the sky all the things.
I’ll show you all the films I like
We barely talk.
We watch films.
He finishes
on top of his fingers
and my wrapping paper.
I’m half asleep
but I’m full of sugar
and thoughts like a wadded piece of past
shaped like rope
tightening
and

I wake up in his forearm
biting through his moles
to get to you.
“happy birthday”

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