From This Day Forward contains my words & love letters dedicated to my everyday- my husband, my first human child, my family & friends. Coexisting with my day-to-day life is my made-up, written life. The two are not meant to be confused, but can occasionally cross paths.
Now we are the same height. He pronounced us married and we kissed and now we are the same height. That kiss weaved our mouths into a marriage blanket; and on rainy days, we’ll make a tent in our living room. My toothache is your decaying molar. The left side throbbing—we’ll hold our cheeks, moaning in unison.
We danced our first married dance and now we no longer have to speak. My mind is full of your thoughts; your thoughts echo in my mind. The words start in my throat, but it’s your mouth that delicately forms the sounds. Your lips moving, my tongue pressing against our teeth saying, “I do, I do.”
We cut the velvet cake and our mouths devoured the same piece. Your hunger is my stomach growling. I need to feed you so I don’t starve. We are married and the mirrors are always foggy. Your foot is my foot and our shoes are all the same size.
In our honeymoon bed, my arms hug my body and your legs wrap around your ankles. We are contortionists—pretzeled and joined in matrimony.
We are married and we are one and we are married and I am
Now there are trees, and beneath our feet, there is a path.
Striking white, phantom orchids bloom.Flowers meet the path.
You are left waiting, I am left waiting, no one joins.
Would you follow me along an unfamiliar path?
Now the years have left her, now the years have saddened her.
In an old photograph, she walks alone down a path.
Weights and scales, mortar and pestle, jars and bottles—
the apothecary’s garden grows along the path.
Elizabeth feels contrived, Macrae feels...
Where do I fit? Where will it lead? Should I take this path?
see visions in a burnt piece of toast,
some in the face of a woman.
It’s like watching your parent’s from the top of the stairs—
Your mother’s forehead crease, her lips a stiff line;
You can hear your father’s voice but not his words.
You wonder if they can feel your presence like arm hairs standing.
Some people like to sit in the front of roller coasters,
some like to see what’s ahead
It’s like watching your parent’s from the top of the stairs—
You can see your mother rubbing her necklace;
You can see your father open and closing his fists.
You don’t like sitting in the front; don’t like seeing the horizon—
the track vanishing before the fall.
When I was Eight, My Sister Turned Inside Out
it wasn’t as if she unzipped her spine
stepped out of her skin
meticulously worked the folds of her joints
smoothed the creases of her breasts
to play dress up
it wasn’t as if she opened her mouth wide
stuck her arm down her throat
reached for her stomach
played tug-of-war with her intestines
until she was a pile of organs
her bones unveiled
it wasn’t anything like that
it was worse
her pink cheeks faded
until she was paper-yellow skin
her face sinking into what used
to be her eyes
every expression the same color
there was always blood
in our washcloths
her lungs exhausted
her body draining itself
nurses invaded her veins
with sterile needles
pierced her skin raw
week after week
her body wanted to reverse so badly
it rejected her strawberry-blonde hair
left clumps on pillows
in shower drains
until her head was bare
smooth as the day she was born
the last time I saw my sister
she was under a sheet
thicker than her skin
only ribs and hipbones outlined
her body plugged into the hospital
machine pumped heart
liquid food in tubes
bags changed nightly
her lips so dry
I was afraid if I kissed them
they would crumble
There Are No Second Chances
After “A Moment in Troy” by Wislawa Szymborska
by their deliberate and practiced motions.
Delicate eyes focused forward,
guided only by the preceding ponytail.
Each resembles the other
in similarities and differences
distinguished only by abstract
reflections of practice and precision.
walk in straight, deliberate lines
walk with straight, deliberate shoulders
stopping in formation, like soldiers.
Elegance and grace join powerful
locked in translucent boxes,
perform and become nothing
more than identical silhouettes
fighting for recognition.
Each apparatus becomes its own battle.
Here a stutter-step means devastation,
here a miscalculation equals defeat.
Did you know ambition never rests?
made of silk and stone.
my husband gets home
walks straight to the fish tank
traces the words
I love you I love you
onto the glass
the goldfish follows
day after day
flecks float on the surface
as if declaring
I am here, devour me
to the goldfish
a few pieces sink
to the rock-filled bottom
the colors evaporating
as they fall
I massage my hands
along his neck and spine
pressing my name
Macrae Macrae Macrae
into his skin
the letters vanish
beneath my fingertips
as I write them
The Sky was Falling
And we were standing beneath that turquoise umbrella, barely fitting because we didn’t like when our shoulders touched. I was crying and you were laughing (because that’s your version of sentiment). It was raining so hard the umbrella was collapsing. “You take it, I can run home,” you said, but I felt like leaving, so I kissed you on the cheek, even though I knew it would burn my lips. Your skin seared my lips and they blistered, but I ran fast, faster than I should have been able to. “I regret you,” is what I thought you said. But the sky was loud, crashing around me.
Drowning the Sun
After I chug all the red wine, straight from the bottle, I pull the sun towards me in an awkward embrace that is both passionate and tender, but the sun hates being touched so he pushes me away and says, “don’t ever do that again without my permission,” and so I apologize before pulling the sun into the ocean and holding him beneath the water’s surface. The sun fights against me and then struggles against me, but I let him up after a while. He stomps away into the night muttering to the moon to watch out for the angry drunk. And then I shout to both the moon and the sun, “I’m not usually like this. I’m not like this.”
there were only biscuits
the kind you peel
and bang against the counter
there was only coffee
the strong french roast
that kept us conscious
there were always dirty
ants in the carpet
there was only us
and it wasn’t even the us
Tonight We are Noir Heroes
Clichéd and twenty-something
We are scared existentialists
High off unemployment and the extra
hundred Aunt Betty slipped in my graduation card
It’s two-for-ones at the local dive so we swallow
Dig for forgotten pills in our purses
Searching the bathroom mirror for faces
Lively. Content. Not
We are kindred spirits by dawn
Swearing friendship for always
Drunk off dollar menu tacos
We exist in the moment rather than the splash back
“Hooligans” a lady mutters as she smells us
The night, our world, we simply refuse to let go—
The sun is brilliant, aching above.
I sat beside my neighbor in the mouth of a yellow tunnel slide when we decided to smoke the joint his brother gave us.
We’d been coming to the park behind our cul-de-sac for years, but this summer we
were allowed to come alone and stay until after the streetlights buzzed and flickered
to life—it was this little bit of freedom
that got us into trouble. He pulled the joint out of his front pocket and held it between
his thumb and pointer finger.
He rolled it between his fingers and pressed it to his nose like his brother had shown