A Voicemail for My Newest Ghost

Next week,
when you answer my text
all big smile and tiny ears
Trimmed scruff and kind eyes
I will use every particle of my being,
every feminist article I read off Facebook,
every you’re worth more than this bullshit pep talk
I’ve given my friends before me
to not answer you.

I’m worried that still won’t be enough.

Because I want to answer you.
I want to be with you.
And that’s why this hurts.
Why I hurt.
But I changed your name to fuckface on my phone
And once I do that your number means
I won’t

I won’t
tell you how you set free the butterflies in my stomach
de-metamorphasized them into worms
I won’t
describe how I’ve felt more beautiful in your bed
than I have for years
of waking up mid-dream of someone holding me
to a padding cell of my own emptiness
Your head back
My legs tongue-tied around your back
I asked if I could do anything
and you told me to stay sexy
But these sentiments are now sediments
at the bottom of a drained pool

Why did I think that if I broke enough rules I could have you?
That when you laid next to me,
staring at my morning face
evaporated smile,
thinking rippled across your soft eyes
you just downed a shot of this bourbon heavy early love?
I’m punch drunk
An upside down cake in a cupcake liner
Dessert misspelled into desert
Thinking respect meant to be seen

You kissed me so many times.

This time I wasn’t a collection of broken veins
No ventricles that never reached fluttering atria
This time I wasn’t the girl waiting for the next man to leave

When I was five
I told my entire class that today I was meeting my daddy
Today he’s going to be my father
I come from a world where fatherhood is worth bragging about
Where showing up seems like silly girl fantasies
My heart whispers paper airplanes that sail to the ground

I became a woman
when five-year-old me spent two hours alone
in the post-dismissal parking lot
and knew he would never drive me home

I won’t tell you that story
I won’t tell you I collect stories on the metro
casting for extras for my dreams
I won’t tell you that I’m standing in that elementary school parking lot
Your shadow all over me like sunscreen
I won’t tell you that it was mean
You were mean
Not playing it cool or causal
Fucking someone twice, then not having balls to say you no longer want them is mean
and I won’t tell you
That I am not mean
I am snowflaked eyelashes
Taking walks in the frosty rain
Bubble wrap in angry hands
I am blunt humor
New York pizza bubbled to the roof of your mouth
Sticky cheesy burning goddamn bliss
Knitting scarves out of yesterdays
The phone number you call in the middle of a human hurricane
I won’t tell you I’m beautiful
Because you already know I’m beautiful
You know the things you’ve forgotten,
they’re just misfiled in your brain
I won’t tell you that my brain reads like a dictionary
my memories come in definitions
I am a garden where every tree has a name
Every paper cut is dressed in poetry
I am poetry
The best book you were too busy to read
When you ghost a ghost hunter
You haunt your own tomorrows

And yes,
you’ll stay here,
a vague moment of tangible
of me feeling like I could touch infinity
or lullabies
or something that could hold me into sleep tonight

But I won’t tell you
Tonight I will still be as silly-sexy
Eating metaphors off the bar
That I’ll drink up half empty glasses until I’m full.


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