Can You?

Can you make me put down my phone, 

and I mean in ways other than saying 

it’s rude to have it out. I need to know if you

can capture my attention, stimulate my brain’s 

waves and body’s hormones just enough 

to get me so caught up in all you are offering 

that I can’t fathom taking my attention away? 

Can you embrace my heart with a strong 

enough grasp that my only recourse is to 

write a dear john letter to my cell or ghosting 

on what it and I had in the name of us? Can your 

words fill all the crevices in my mind so that 

there’s no space to focus on texting about 

things past, or Instagraming the moment, 

or Periscoping the present? Can you cause 

me to be that present any time I’m in your 

presence or even when you are merely 

presently on my mind? That’s the kind 

of love I want, one that can cause me to 

put down my cell phone and be totally and 

utterly with you savoring each moment. 

Can you? 

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Late Nights

At 4:30 a.m.
when the world
is at its quietest
and my room
is at its darkest
I need you to
reach out to me
and pull me into you
letting me know
I am not alone,
that it was just
a bad dream,
that rest can be
found with you. 


At 4:30 a.m.
I need you to
comfort me, to
take the place
of my comforter
that swaddles
my body, I need
you to replace
my body pillows
and the mess
on your side
of this full-sized
mattress that
serves as your
placeholder.


At 4:30 a.m.
when sleep
is elusive
I reach out
knowing you
aren't there,  
but I need you
to save me
from the dark,
from the quiet,
from this un-
relenting night.


At 4:30 a.m.
the world is
at its quietest,
my room is
at its darkest,
and I am at
my loneliest.


At 4:30 a.m.
I need you
more than
I need slumber
but no arm
reaches out,
I am reminded
there is no you.  
There's only me,
only pillows,
only my TV.
So I cradle my
body in my arms
and I rock myself
back to sleep
until beckoned
by alarms.

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Oddities

I’m wondering, do you love me… 

All of me? Not just the image of 

feminine beauty… Do you love me 

to the point that the irritating is 

endearing? I need you to humor and 

adore my oddities. Like how I’ll 

request that you sit, just sit 

in the bathroom and talk to me while 

showering. I need you to ask 

if I’m okay every morning when I 

gag while I am brushing, need to know that 

the clinking of my teeth against a fork 

is music to your ears. I need you to find it 

sinfully enticing that like a bohemian, I 

wildly kick off my shoes upon entrance 

to the house… my toes need freedom. And 

I hope you continue to love me even as you trip 

over them. I need you to love me so much that 

it doesn’t matter that I don’t shave my legs 

more than twice a year or that I make that 

weird throat sound when allergies attack. I 

need you to excuse my manly burps and 

how I stare into space almost as if I’m not 

paying you your full attention. I need 

you to know that “I’m fine” means 

“I’m falling apart, please catch me!” or that 

“I’m okay” means “you should probably 

stay out of my way!” I need you to love that 

I’m an overachieving workaholic simply because 

you know that I will always drop everything 

and make time for you… I need to know that 

you feel these things, in order for me to share 

how much I care and know that our love is true 

because these are all the things I already do 

for you. I love your tart morning breath, 

the way you suck your pinky, your stuffed 

animal collection, how a shower takes you 

an hour, I love the way you suck your teeth, 

that you are always chewing gum, your germaphobic 

tendencies, the fact that you love being outdoors 

but can’t sit in the dirt. I love your hammer toe 

and the huge scar along your arm, and nothing 

makes me happier than hearing you painfully 

try to sing along. These are the things that you do 

that make me love you through and through so 

I need to know if you feel the same about things 

that would drive most insane?   

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Mistake

My biggest mistake
was not that night
I shared with you
but that I exhaled,
dropped my guard
and let you into
my fragile heart.

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That July Night

You either fight, 

fly or freeze

But I couldn’t fight, 

I couldn’t flee.

He’s bigger than me. 

Stronger than me.

And though not maliciously so 

he was blocking the door.

In heightened moments of terror 

you fight or freeze

so I froze, 

I froze.

I couldn’t fight so I complied

I undressed myself at his wish

My only fight was over a condom

It was the only battle 

I was strong enough to wage. 

It was a battle won 

in a war where I lost it all. 

I didn’t want it, 

I said no again and again 

and again and again 

and again and again 

and again. 

But I couldn’t fight, 

I froze. 

My no’s 

were not enough 

so I complied…

Thought it best to get it over with 

and go home 

rather than fight this overbearing man. 

So I laid down and froze. 

He got on top, 

got in, 

moved around,  

told me about his intentions to cum. 

And I laid there frozen, 

fear consuming me. 

I could not enjoy what was done, 

I just laid there wondering was it over; 

can I get out from under,

can I finally go home? 

He moved faster 

and I remained numb. 

He rained sweat on me.

I absorbed it while numb.

He went to clean up, 

I remained numb.

I went to clean up 

while still remaining numb.

He drove me to the train, 

mumbling something about 

how he’d take me home 

but he had to go to Queens.  

We were in Brooklyn… 

I was headed the other way 

I hopped on the train numb, 

I chatted on the phone with a friend numb. 

I made it to the Bronx numb. 

The next day I celebrated 

my birth with my friends while numb.

The day after that while they celebrated me,

I dined with my family numb. 

I was numb that weekend…

My birthday cakes tasted numb,

my smiles hallow, my heart numb. 

I stayed numb 

for days,

for weeks, 

for months. 

I was numb

until fear forced me to talk,  

until I could be receptive 

to the words given to me, 

to the label placed on me,

two words I was too numb 

and too fearful to give myself. 

My therapist said “date rape”… 

And I was no longer just numb 

but now I was utterly broken. 

My facade shattered. 

My reality changed forever

though it had already been 

when he scared me into numb. 

In heightened fear you fight or flee… 

I fled to the quietest parts inside of me 

knowing I wasn’t up to the fight. 

Maybe submission saved my life that night. 

Maybe I could have fought and won. 

Maybe’s don’t matter anymore. 

Why’s don’t matter anymore. 

What if’s don’t matter anymore… 

And though I am 

no longer under him, 

part of me remains 

numb.

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My Daily Prayer

Father God,

May I choose 

to forgive

the ones who 

abandoned me, 

neglected me, 

betrayed me,

stalked me, 

molested me, 

abused me, 

raped me, 

broke me.

May I choose 

to forgive myself

for letting me 

down, for 

criticizing me,

for doubting me. 

May I in time 

forgive myself 

for not taking 

care of myself, for 

not protecting 

your temple, and 

for blaming 

myself, may I

forgive myself

for failing 

to forgive 

myself.

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