Your Slice

There’s agony in my eye
Tonight I watched a friend die
Not her body, just her soul
I only wanted to be whole

Meanwhile, you smile
Somewhere around the world
Across of an expanse of miles
While the basis of her brain unfurled

The tightly wound wires tucked neatly in her head
Unravelled by the final straw, something that I said
Is it right to call her friend, in this quietly catastrophic end?
Through the waters of grief pooling at my toes
Pouring down my cheeks, past my lips and my nose

My slice of the world is crumbling
Your slice remains untouched
In mine the sky comes tumbling
It doesn’t affect yours much

How is it that when I placed the straw, and the walls came crashing down
In your slice across the world, you hardly heard a sound?

Rainy Sky Eyes

I stare at the smoldering remnants of the bakery, a mixture of sorrow and wonder swirling through my head.
Why? Who would find the spite in their heart to ignite what is, by extension, the food on my table and the clothes on my back? Granted, the building is insured, but it’s still distressing. My eyes scan the crowd, looking each of those people right in the face. They’re sad, sure, but it doesn’t cut them to the core like it does me, my family. I feel that cut widening, and slimy goop inside of me oozes out, into the grimy street. It splatters in time with the water from the fire hoses.
“You okay, Parker?” Dad wraps a solid arm around my shoulder, squeezing tightly so that I can’t tell he’s shaking. I can tell.
“I’m okay, dad,” I stare down at my insides on the ground, the ones that dad doesn’t see, “are you okay?”
Guilt flashes in his rushing river eyes, the way it always does when he lies, “I’m okay.”
Dad definitely isn’t okay. He poured his whole life into that bakery, including his heart and soul. I’m pretty sure that insurance won’t cover that.
He steps with his feet all evening. I don’t know what he used to step with, but it sure wasn’t those.
I kiss him goodnight on his scratchy cheek, and then retreat to my bedroom, but I have no intention of sleeping – How could I? I tie my thick amber hair back into a braid, pull on dark jeans, black high-tops, and a black sweater, and then press my ear against my door. As expected, dad’s loud snoring is audible from his bedroom. I stare in the mirror, right into my own rushing river eyes, straighten my sweater, and then turn away.
The police, the fireman, they’ve hauled away all of the evidence, but maybe, just maybe, I’ll find dad’s heart and soul. Then, before I can change my mind, I climb out the window. The bakery’s a five minute walk, silent, save for the crunching of feet on asphalt and my thoughts.
What am I trying to accomplish? As poetic as it is – and I am a poet – I know that I can’t find his literal heart as soul.
I almost turn back, but then, as I approach the bakery, something changes. A figure crouched in the rubble, with long black hair. She’s facing away from me until a stick pops under my foot, and she whirls around. I’m not sure what exactly it is in her blue sky eyes – the guilt, the regret, the pain – but I immediately know who she is.
“It’s okay, I’m not going to hurt you,” I assure her, and approach, stretching out a hand, “what’s your name?”
She tentatively reaches out to grasp my hand. Hers are papery and cold, smooth and creamy. Not the hands of an arsonist, I think.
“Aidan,” she supplies, and her voice is as delicate as her features.
I’m reminded of Snow White, “Hi, Aidan, I’m Parker, and you’re strange. I don’t think most arsonists return to the scene of the crime.”
Those sky eyes widen and she turns to run, but I still have her by the hand. When she finally stops struggling, I sit, dragging her down with me.
“You don’t get to go. Not until you explain,” her frightened eyes close momentarily, and she sits, nodding.
“Okay,” a strand of Aidan’s silky hair settles behind her ear, “It’s not a good explanation, though. Don’t expect anything.”
I nod, and she continues.
“Because I wanted to watch the world burn,” she says with finality, eyes cast downward.
I know now what I saw in her eyes; I saw poetry. Broken poetry, scrawled into her irises, twisted into the blood vessels.
“Wanted. Why past tense? What changed?” She looks at me, surprised.
“I thought I wanted to watch the world burn. But not anymore; Not after watching flames overtake this place,” she takes in a shaky lungful of air, “Because that’s what fire does, it spreads. I’ve been burnt, and the last thing that I need is revenge – I know that now. What I need is a cure.”
Her eyes aren’t full of fire, not like they must have been when she burnt down my second home. On the contrary, they’re watery.
Skies rain.
I wonder for a moment whether her tears could put out the fires that she started; whether they could wash away my insides from the pavement.
“You don’t need a cure,” I voice my earlier thoughts, “you could put out your fires with those tears.”
It’s poetic, it’s cheesy, and it’s not literal or logical. My dad would scoff, but I don’t care.
“Help people, Aidan. Don’t hurt them,” I advise, and then push off of the ground, dusting off my pants, “There’s a volunteer cleanup here tomorrow. Be there, if you can.”
When I’m home, I sleep, and I dream of Aidan’s rainy sky eyes.


Back and forth glides the swing
On old and squeaking joints
Of metal and bone the noises sing
Where a young boy once found joy

Up and down he pumped his feet
So swung his heart of gold
Back when he was swift and fleet
And still enjoyed the cold

Side to side he twists the chain
To an old familiar creak
He remembers what he had to gain
When he still was plump of cheek

The squeaking stops as the swing stills
Now in his mind the memories have escaped beyond reach
And even as he leaves the park, he longs again to see.

Stories Told in Silence

Oh, what kind of stories do forests tell?
From their sights and their sounds to their moods and their smells
The ripped leaf that Tommy tore
The tree’s not angry, she’s not keeping score
The bent blades of grass where heavy feet fell
Oh, what stories the forests tell

And what kind of tales does the water weave?
Through the glimmering waves that sparkle and gleam
Between the fish that swim in the bay
And the deepest of ocean, a menacing gray
A ship lost at sea
A sailor’s screams
Ah, what tales the water weaves.

Dear Sarah

Dear Sarah,

It’s funny, I guess, how in love we were. Are.

I read books, when I was a little kid, about perfect love stories, and beautiful, poetic, happy endings. I guess this is that.
It’s played out, sure, but that’s okay.
It’s not for them.
It’s for us.
Alex Doyle.
Sarah Anders.
That’s how everyone knew us, never one without the other. Never just Sarah, riding her bike through the neighborhood, because I was there, trailing a little it behind. I never could keep up. I guess that’s why it’s SarahandAlex, not AlexandSarah. She lost her teeth first, she ran faster, she biked faster, she was faster. Sarah went fast through life in general. She had the wind in her hair, life, life, was a roller coaster.
So that’s why I’m writing to you, Sarah, because now, after everything, I want you to take a moment and sit. Sit down, and read this slowly.
Don’t rush through, for once.
You, and Every Part of You (A-Z)
Asking about my crush, asking about my grades, asking about my day
Asking about your outfit, asking to come in a rush, because you had something to say
Asking about my tears, and yours alike
Asking about my fears of the end of time
Because, there’s always a because
Be it for a vaguely questionable cause
Before you can judge the end of time, remember why, remember why
Because without the end, there’s no closure
Closure, darling, is eternal rest
Closure is relief at the end of the test
Closure is the security that everything’s alright
Closure is permission to switch off the light
Dance your way through life
Dance because you asked why
Dance because you made a mistake
Dance because you didn’t break at the mistake
Experience all there is to see, to smell, to hear
Experience everything–everything, my dear
Experience the prying eyes of the weak
Experience the bland, and the dry, and the bleak
Experience the bad to enhance the good
Forget some experience, I suppose that’s okay
Forget some of the blue, and the black, and the gray
Forget the scorn and the blaze in their eyes
Forget the way you ignited those fires
Forget some
Grieve your losses
Grieve, it’s okay
Grieve because they’re gone, and it’s blue, and it’s gray
Grieve because you might someday forget their face
Hold tightly to what you have
Hold onto your palms, and the air, and your face
Hold onto your sanity–get ready to chase
Hold onto yourself, but not fickle days
Instant is an idea, a concept not to grasp
Instant is the feel of a plasticky mask
Instant is the silvery loop on your finger
Instant is wishing the ring wouldn’t linger
Join, you cannot do this alone
Join, because you’ll try, but you won’t find a home
Join, because home is in people, not places
Join, because friends are more than just faces
Kindness is underrated
Kindness should be inflated
K I N D N E S S, blow it up, print it on a blimp
Kindness is the cure to your incurable limp
Limp, what limp?
Limp that you can’t feel, not anymore
Limp that makes you stumble on your way out the door
Limp that would be gone without the weight on your back
Limp that could be cured if you stayed on track
More is a slippery, treacherous slope
More can bring downfall, or more can bring hope
More can pull your life either way
More can shove you down, or brighten your day
No, say it, no
No is okay
No is what you say at the end of the day
No is when you’re tired, don’t want to go out
No is when you should study, so put the phone down
No is powerful, so use it wisely
One compliment can change their life
One word of her hair or one mention of his tie
One can keep them going
One can give them hope
Purposefully walk across the stage
Purpose is the flour in your life’s great cake
Purpose keeps it real, and keeps it strong
Purpose is the baseline of your song
Queues kill instant, and that’s okay
Queues teach you patience, the patience to stay
Queues help you balance your reward and your pain
Queues are okay, don’t you dare walk away
Rewards are the oasis at the end of the queue
Rewards are the meaning, or so it seems
Rewards aren’t really, no matter your strife
Rewards are there to distract you from life
Strong is what you are, I promise. I promise
Strong isn’t lifting a car
Strong isn’t just looking away, but
Strong is also having the courage to live another day
Time is ticking, that’s what they say
Time is a constant, in a crazy way
Time is surreal, but the realest thing
Time is waiting for the bell to ring
Time ends
Until is time, and waiting, and queues
Until is staring at the clock, confused
Until is finally grasping reward
Until is finding the hilt of the sword
Until you win the battle
Void is the end
Void is the beginning
Void is up for interpretation
Void is nothing, a blank slate
Void is nothing, nothing to stay
Without is hard when it’s followed by you
Without is what I’m going through
Without is rage at Until and Time
Without is forgetting to fall in line
Xylophone is desperation
Xylophone is giving up
Xylophone is the lack of words that start with X
Xylophone is a word that feels used, forgotten
Xylophone, I’m sorry, we know how you feel
You I’m without
You is the time until reward
You is being strong, you is a hard word
You is three letters of bittersweet tears
You is so many memories, throughout the years
Z is finality
Z is conclusion
Z is closure
Z is when I get to see you again
Z is when I can witness your smile
Z is far away for a while, but that’s okay, I’m good at Until, now.
Our When was beautiful, as opposed to our rather bleak Now. I can’t wait to make Then the most incredible Time yet.