empty lungs

the cold sea swells behind you
and you can barely take a breath before
it crashes down on you once again
all you can do is let the waves push and pull you
scraping your skin against the rocky bottom
the saltwater stinging fiercely against your already open wounds
but the blood and pain don’t even register
because all that matters is fighting
back to the surface to gasp in as much air as you can
before the next crash of dark water
overpowers and overcomes you

cliff side

you’ve been standing here for what feels like a lifetime
the sky is blue and the ocean is blue and maybe your heart is too
you watch the others leap into the sky
limbs flailing as they fall, letting the sea become their safety net
and god, you want to jump too
to give in to the desire to make a decision
the kind that’s exciting and risky and terrifying
the kind that could hurt you or kill you if it goes wrong
but make you feel more alive than you knew you could if it doesn’t
all it would take is a step
either backwards or forwards, just move your feet
you can’t fucking stay up here forever

a terrible idea

it’s like running as fast as you can toward a brick wall
you see it coming and part of you is screaming stop
knowing you could wrench yourself off the path,
throw your body to the ground and feel your skin ripped apart by dirt and gravel
taking a little pain to avoid a lot

but another part of you is giddy at the thought
that you might break through the fucking wall and keep going,
red dust in your hair and red blood dripping down your face
a broken nose and scraped forearms and bloody knees
it’ll hurt like hell
but maybe it will be worth
what’s on the other side

preceding the sunrise

there’s something about the late night quiet
that seeps into your skin
and fills you up from the inside out
sometimes it makes you burst
and you laugh harder than you knew you could
or you cry easier than you thought you would
and sometimes it opens your mouth
and pushes out words you could never say in daylight
ripping out secrets you swore you’d killed and buried
pushing them without grace into someone else’s hands

in the morning, you are peeled open and raw
the sunshine is too bright
the coffee too bitter
and it doesn’t matter if you laughed or you cried
your chest feels lighter
because part of you
is now missing

a dollar’s worth of silence

i want to smash a stack of expensive plates in the middle of the street

and run barefoot through the woods until I’m lost

i want to climb a tree until it sways

and sit there until I’m too cold to stand it

i want to throw rocks through abandoned window panes

and smoke cigarettes until i throw up all over my shoes

i want to drive to the middle of nowhere just to scream as loud as i can

then i’ll lay down in the dirt

and breathe

reach

reach out like you always have
stretch and wiggle your fingers as you search
feel the muscles in your arm become taut as you struggle
pushing with your shoulder, you try harder
and your muscles start to scream as you force them
to keep reaching, stretching further
to continue going forward, until
even your fingertips
vibrate with the strain

you reach out like you always have
but now, what you search for isn’t there
and no matter how much effort you expend
and no matter how many times you try
there is nothing
and you remain

empty