Poems & Illustrations:

chapped lips stained shut

Sucking on gemstones,

sipping on rose quartz to make 

them love me. 

It’s like when Dorothy 

gets to Oz. New year, same thing. 

I feel sepia most days, and I choke on crystals now. 

Could she always speak in rainbows

or is that just what I wanted to be loud. 

Soft whispers of jazz club 

gracing my nostrils rubbed off

on borrowed satin that once 

caught dreams or thoughts 

when they couldn’t sleep. 

Interrupting rest for a Girl,

never interrupted. 

If I play the villain 

you’ll be the sweet pea.

Melting rocket pops, freezer burnt veggies, 

to keep company.

if lust were long walks on the beach 

We took breaths of 

sunsets and choked

on butterflies to feel 

alive. Neon gushed through 

our insides, inflaming 

ultraviolets. A forest fire.

But only the flowers burn. 

Sweet desire, I’m tired.

no audio 

Sometimes silence sounds like children playing on a playground. The sweet laughter and creaky swing sets, the sand in your shoes and your hair. You fell a lot. But who the hell cares.

Sometimes silence sounds like the ocean. The Atlantic at 6 a.m. in the month of June. Right at the edge of the water where the waves kiss your toes and you inhale the burst of first light orange. 

Sometimes silence sounds like a heartbeat. But not your own. The one that made a tune with you. The bump electrifies your skin and deepens your lungs. But no more heavy breathing, only waiting, wanting, and leaving. back then it was self-loved someone symphony. 

Sometimes silence sounds like you. How you talk behind your back. How you speak you’re not hungry but you say you want to spend your last $10 for the week on a burger. You say sweet nothings, you shout slurs about you, you whisper, “you look good today” faintly so that God can’t even hear you.

Sometimes silence sounds like everything all at once. Can you have that by tonight? When can you hang out? Have you paid for this? Did you schedule that? Cars, planes, people in the street existing and functioning, fulfilling their economic corporate needs.  

Sometimes silence sounds like an old phone the one that hangs on the wall. Like getting a call from someone you weren’t expecting. You answer because you think it’s them but it’s not. You’re not rude so you stay and chat. 

Sometimes silence is the wind whispering through your hair. The holes in your sleeves snagged from the fences. Walls you put up painted pink with each stained sheet. Strangled from cotton each thread sinks deep.

Sometimes silence is the buzzing of the lights on the walls, tucked on shelves and behind the window. It creeps in from the street. Comes in the door without invitation. It’s a pleasant unwelcome guest. 

Sometimes silence is vacant. Rooms filled with dust. Neighbors to welcome you home. Old lovers with not much love at all. you put up your sign no vacancy no more. 

Sometimes silence is a sunset. so bright and blissful you close your eyes and breathe in the now, push over the later and breathe out the before.

*Artwork by Kally Compton

What was your favorite poem? Leave a comment below!

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