It despairs as




But it passes.

Tulips in the Snow

In early spring you clipped me,

still blooming.

You tore me by my roots,

then rent me until raw and vulnerable

I stooped before your

Vengeful eye.

You said I was too beautiful,

A mere thing surrounded

by beautiful things.

Before you I grew.

Should you leave I would yet grow.

So you clipped me.

Beneath your oppressively absent eye

I withered

grew dim.

I would never grow again.

Never know home again.

Everywhere I was was damned,

And you.

You beheld a being so beautiful

You wanted to watch it die

And become a thing less beautiful.

You yourself could not create beauty—

A beautifully damned nothing, then.

In the frost

Away from you

Unnatural to me

I sought the light.

A tulip in snow is an unnatural thing.

But a tulip in the dark

Is nothing.

I am not nothing.

Unnatural now, perhaps,

But I am.

to sir with love

I had thought to

kill him with kindness.

Perfectly pressed and poised,

I withstood him

as strong women ought.

Careful not to raise my voice I

fed him the spotlight and

all of the space in the world entire and

unsatisfied with

his own



He devoured mine.

Kill him with kindness

As I choked on my own tongue.

I took the high road,

unpaved and wild

While he claimed the road most traveled,

And I, on my own wretched road,

remained locked and dying

in the deep and the dark.

Kill him with kindness

As I spit out my broken teeth

My face crushed into his refuse

My lungs claiming all that is left for me—

The teeming mess of him.

With my dying breaths I chance to

gaze upon him

To see at last what they see

To know about him what they know:

That he is worthy of unyielding devotion;

That I, kingmaker, and him, king

Have played our parts as commanded,

And at last we will see each other

Unburdened and unbruised and equal.

But he is already past me

Pulling taut the string tied

around the neck of the next.

Eyes gleaming and afraid

She moves forward

And is unmade.

I thought to kill him with kindness

But kindness killed me instead.

a hastily constructed love letter, still bleeding.

Pull the shadows down deep until they are behind us;

Now only we remain.

Naked as you found me, but unafraid.

I drink you in.

Before, wordless, I would have let you

Take all the best lines

And all of the good light would paint your soliloquy.

But I have learned to fill the silence with pretty tokens taken from your tongue.

A marionette, I spend my days pretending

My painted face and human likeness dampen and crumble away like rotted wood about me

Until all that remains are splinters from

The useless mask.

Here I have laced together my clumsily begotten words

And too close you see the rips in the seams

And the wear

But when you are there and I am


And nothing but time stands between us

Know that they mean I love you.

And I loved you.

And I will love you yet.

The Marionette

At your leisure I danced.

I grinned earth wide

And my tears filled the deep craters

Torn into my rough hewn body

Chipped again and again by your strings.

You locked me away

And dust settled around me

And within me

And perhaps

When you drew me out again

You would remake me

Something more to your liking.

Perhaps I could be human this time

And you would love me?

At your leisure I performed,

And when I failed to please you

You painted over my lips

And used my mouth to spew your own words,

And the strings you strung and pulled

A noose about my neck

Stopped me screaming.

When at last I cobbled together a voice

From scraps you dropped beneath the table,

You crushed me under your heel.

You cut my strings

And ripped me apart, limb from limb.

Until I love you the way you demand—

Without desire or expectation—

You will hold my strings a guillotine,

And every breath I take

Will be a breath you have allowed;

And every step I take

Will be on legs you created;

And when I move just right

The perfect marionette,

You will share a sliver of your light

And shine your love on me,

And you will love me

And I will be worthy of love.

while you were away

i will die while you are gone.

time and again i have begged the black away, 

knowing you were too near. 

i could not bear you to see.

i knew you would call me back, and 

because i love you

i would return from something beautiful

to this perpetual wait. 

don’t fuss. there’s bread and meat for sandwiches.

and the laundry is pressed and folded.

i’ve chosen a dress for the burial, and a hat.

the girls will take care of the makeup.

skip the repast. 

i made your bed and left mine undone.

i thought you might like to lie there, a bit, and imagine

me lying in the space across from you.

sometimes, deep in the dark, i reached for you

and i could almost feel you reaching back.

the way i felt your eyes caress me

when my back was turned,

the strength of your arms

the time you hugged me.

you will wonder what to do with your time

now that i cannot tell you how to fill it.

i thought about staying.

i knew you would be angry if i chose to leave.

were my bones young and my mind lithe

and the air crisp and full

i might stay awhile.

but it is winter.

i know you don’t like to think of it.

but it is winter now and sometimes

the sun fools us into thinking winter will pass

and leave us untouched.

it will not.

you will have me here, even if i am empty

so that you are not at last alone.

so i will die while you are away.

i will wait for you, just beyond the veil.

come when you are ready.

on the anniversary of your end.

I know where you are. 

Like a hangnail 

Or enduring pain

Lodged deep beneath my skin

Or the space 

between heartbeats.

I think I have rid myself

of the pain of you

Sloughed it off 

like a winter coat

Or youthful innocence—

Which, ill-fitting, you took with you—

And then I think about 

measured time

And unfeeling dates—

The pillars standing sentinel

Over the reality of you—

And the gash between the pillars,

The place where 

the whole of you existed.

I am bound by the date

that means you ended

And I break open

And I gasp you out;

There was not enough life

In your lifetime. 

Not enough happiness

In the midst of the despair. 

And all that you were,

Twenty seven short 


Tagged and bagged

And stuffed into plastic.

I invent a new life for you

Because all ownership of stories

And the life you lived

is gone from you now,

And you are relegated the spaces 

And the downbeats

And they call you lost.

And I repeat it back to them,

But you are not lost. 

You are here, 

all the time

In the ebbing 

and the flowing

And the bittersweet sting 

of eternal grief.