The last time I met Emily Dickinson in my dreams
we had coffee and ice cream, and I taught her how to fake sanity,
and we had tea and cake, and she taught me how to behave.
Stared into my own eyes from the outside for the first time in a long time. Misty moonlight reflection in windowpane. A face lino-printed on glass. She looks old. Exhausted. She’s got those wild, wild eyes. Traumatised. Who the fuck are you? I said. She didn’t reply. Her face crumpled in on itself.
I don’t need to explain to you why I reacted the way that I did
when you came up behind me and dug your fingers in my ribs.
I don’t want to anyway. Even if I have to, I won’t.
My trauma bores me. I am sick of repeating sad stories.
Drowning in a sea that I don’t remember diving into found myself once again in dire straits too far away and sinking / slowly / I can see nothing and sinking / quickly / nothing but your face and sinking / deadweight / it seems that all of my memories have been erased by the waves except the ones of you
There are only 2 ways to stop us
sending each other drunk text messages:
1) Quit drinking,
or 2) Drink together.
And I’m not going back to rehab.
He always says, “Don’t be sad baby,”
as if it’s that easy.
I don’t like being told what to do.
The stubborn child in me wakes up
when confronted with authority.
I’ll do the opposite, just to spite you.
Maybe if he said to me, “Don’t be happy, baby,”
I would try desperately hard to be.
Originally published in Dust Poetry Magazine (January 2020).