TIME

you have time enough
to love yourself
after you have
given up
on loving them.
but you can’t
keep the world out.

—it’s always there—

like a dirty needle
in your vein.

TEARS

if you are a woman
and you say something
bothers you,
no one will take
you seriously
until those tears begin to fall.

they are currency—
and i am bankrupt.

DARKNESS

there is a gentle breeze
rustling the branches
of the trees
just a few feet
from where
i am sitting.

the sun is setting
over the river,
begging me
to join in the
darkness to come.

my feet burn to follow.

FRAGMENTS

every fragment of me.
every shard of broken glass.

the pools of
misleading words.

small cuts. bruises
of empty color.

here. is. me.

TURN

turn.
just once. turn.
smile at me.
so that i may
know that i
was loved
at least once
in this lifetime.
just once. as the
fiery gates close
behind me, god,
let me see that
not all was lost.

CHAINS

i scream away my pain,
crying for the lost little girl
hiding inside of me.

knees drawn up, head tucked down,
small fingers pulling at little curls.
ribbons choking.

begging. screaming.
wrapped in chains.
held within the darkness.

searching for the spark
that can set her free—
finding only a void.

BOOKMARKS

You can learn so much from a person by what is tucked between the pages of their books. Some mark their spot with the standard bookmark found on racks at the front counter in every gift shop. Others use receipts, post-it notes, and forgotten to-do lists. But some make it more personal by using photos of loved ones, prayers, and postcards from favorite far-off places. Some don’t use anything at all.

In my work at a university library, I am always amazed by what is left in books that people deem unworthy for their own collections so they are donated to ours. The hardest, and most interesting, items come from the library of someone who has recently passed away. Their literary lives are frozen in time—half-finished books, forgotten letters, and grocery lists never shopped for. What forgotten memories do these items hold?

I have found political brochures from the 1950’s. A list of deceased family members to be prayed for. Postcards with no return address. Military coins. Dried flowers. Stamps. Divorce papers. Plane tickets to Paris. And of course, bookmarks.

I always wonder if their soul will ever find out how the story ends.

MERCY

i need
somewhere to waste away,
a rainy day.

i need
to wash away my pain,
this rainy day

i am
blurred, distorted, surreal,
my grief.

i turn
without a backward glance,
mercy passes by.

i try
to disguise the truth inside,
all my pain.