Growing Pains ManagementWhen I was four years old,
my mother told me that the sky was the limit,
so I ran face first into the
pine tree in my front yard
to get the ground knocked out of me.
When I was thirteen,
I busted my head open in band class.
In the clinic, I wiped the blood
that flooded down my face with my forearm
and made the Vice Principal vomit.
Since then, I’ve made a habit out of making
When I was seventeen, Kevin put a copy
of HOWL face down on my desk and told me
not to tell anyone. I didn’t.
He still lost his job.
Now, I’m twenty two and I don’t know
what I want to be when I grow up.
My hair is thinning faster than my
patience is thinning faster than my
blood is thinning faster than my
wallet. I buy time at the ATM
and gamble it away.
It’s all maintenance now, like so many
car parts creaking. I haven’t put on
that many miles but when you floor it
for twenty two years straight
there’s going to be some damage.
there must bei. i can only assume that you got one of the
seventy six letters i sent your way
and though my breaths are frost-bitten in
the cold of the night you came back
i am still shaken
i am still aching
is there a moment between then and now
where your might may have
caught some shame?
ii. i woke up in between this morning
and everything felt off
my letters were waiting on the kitchen
table; silent, raging yet so
subtly ignored by color
almost as if time had wanted to erase
the glide of my fingers that desperately
inscribed nothing more
than my lack of lucidity
is there justice in the curvature of your
bones, that once smothered my skin
with beaded scented sweat and tumult,
or has the hazard of your presence
washed away with my morning coffee?
iii. i am not the byproduct of salt-crusts
and humanity; you simply were
far too in love with the comforts of the sea
you're back, yes,
but this free fall inside my stomach that
flip flops (in all the bad ways at the
sound of hope - you - lea
Lessons on Being WholeStrange how I fit into you
there's a distance erased with the greatest of ease.
-Vienna Teng, Eric's Song
In a world of puzzle pieces
dumped out of the box and scattered on the floor,
colour and pattern align for a brief instant
and two pieces snap together.
One edge fits.
Their place on the box-cover still unknown
but wherever it is, it is together.
A white-striped fish
teases through the hair of a mermaid with her head buried in the sand.
The blades she keeps in that upwards cascade
don't touch him.
The poison she uses when she's scared-
as dearly known to him as his own skin.
He will dwell in her hair forever if she will have him
combing out the tangles she can't reach.
He feels safe there, buried in her curls
and her fronds.
The floor is littered with discarded
chests, brightly painted but still opaque.
The keys long-gone.
Inside each an angel-devil pounds on the lid of its painted prison-
fortress became coffin.
in 12 ways"How do you deal with your heart?"
on bad days i take it out somewhere nice,
i eat for two
while it watches the candles burn.
i do all the drinking. even though it's wine-colored,
and it knows what the evening costs me, it just watches
the tulip of its glass flicker.
sometimes i wrap it up
in dark crepe for an afternoon and let it fall asleep
with the radio buzzing peaceably
or i walk it through the park
with it in the crook of my arms,
wandering between bird-sounds,
sitting near the duck-pond.
or i take it to the theater
where it can smell butter
and watch the backs of people's heads
while the movie washes its noisy blue waves over them.
my heart floats
if i let it.
it splashes in the tub
like a dirty child, the small window open,
letting the smell of trees in.
at the bases of waterfalls
(because i carry it through into my dreams)
it floats on its back with its ears underwater
and watches strange birds disappear over enormous, blue-purple trees.