Counting Back


The moment my eyes closed and I took my first deep breathe you decided to make your move. The move that would make or break us.

So in that moment, when the room was black, and you were quietly grabbing my whole body, my hand froze on top of yours and I took one more deep breathe in.

Because I’ve heard when you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious it’s important to try and calm yourself down by counting back and naming…


I see two untamed brown caterpillars dancing on his sleepy face. He itches one of them to wake the yellow specks glistening in his green eyes. I see dark knots of perfectly coiled wire stamped to his cheeks. I see that damn chipped tooth peaking through his sweet boyish grin. I see him casually run his fingers up and down his receding hairline.


I hear the ref’s whistle from the football game on T.V. I hear his small breathes whisper in my ear. I hear the leather couch squeak underneath our bodies. I hear myself giggle as he tries to tickle my thighs.


I feel his rugged knuckles underneath my felt fingertips. I feel his small bites encapsulate my mind. I feel his forehead fall and press against my shoulder.


I smell the candle he burns just for us. I smell the rain falling on the dry ground through the windows he left open.


I taste the beer lingering on his lips.

But I’ve counted back too far. I’ve counted back two years ago. The boy in my bed now is not him. The boy in my bed now has to deal with all the parts of him that cause this anxiety. The parts of me that now have to count back every time I feel the same sensation he gave me. But now I realize that sensation has turned into sadness.


My Basket

Free Verse

I have a note saved on my phone titled “What I Want to Say to Him”.

Sandwiched right between my “Grocery List” and “Budget”.

And it’s full of cliché sayings like “It’s almost as if fate brought us back together”, “you’ll know it when you find it”, and my personal favorite, “you’re so easy to talk to”.

There are also questions such as, “Do you think there’s more than one person out there for you?” and “Was our match on that dating app a coincidence?” Because I want to know “Why is it that we’ve stayed connected since our match even though we’re 1,000 miles apart?”

Let me explain because I’ve known him since the seventh grade. When I had a terrible haircut and his brace face grin showed off those chubby cheeks. We weren’t close, not even friends, but I knew him and he knew me.

So much so that when I saw him at a college house party several years later he was hanging out with some of my closest friends. We said our “Hellos” and “How ya doins” because I knew him and he knew me.

And when I came back home for Christmas (another) several years later I saw those chubby cheeks on my dating app screen. I laughed because he looked the same yet so different which made my swipe an immediate match because I knew him and he knew me.

I get the sense that we’re friends now. Now that it’s been quite some time since that match. I understand I can talk to him about mostly anything. But what I don’t understand is why I can’t stop thinking about him.

The “What I Want to Say to Him” note is filled with advice from friends. Advice that makes my head into a spiral. Say something, don’t say anything, or wait it out to see what he says.

But he says enough. He says I care about you when I receive a silly picture of his face. He says I’m thinking about you when I receive a picture of a couple and their dog playing at the lake in his city. He says listen to me when I receive another song from his playlist. He says I think this could be something when I receive a video of a carpool karaoke proposal.

But I don’t say much. I’m afraid to admit that I can care and think and listen just as well as him. But my subconscious knows me all too well and sends him into my dreams. I dream of him coming to pick me up and knocking on my glass door. I can see him just as clearly as he can see me. But it’s up to me to let him in.

Because the biggest piece of advice I have received is from myself. From when I’ve fallen and haven’t been able to gather my life and get back up. I tell myself don’t put all of those damn eggs in one basket.

And yet I have my hopes, my dreams, and my deepest and darkest desire to be with someone like you sitting here in my basket.


Free Verse

A sea of red is rushing towards me. The color of blood swarms my eyes and the only way to save myself is to close them tightly. But I slowly open them and the more I focus, the more I see the blending of fake flowers, candy boxes, teddy bears, and February.

February. How is it already February?

My shoes tap the tiled floor as I wait patiently to be the next customer in line.

My mind is telling me that he was born in February. He was born only sixteen days before me. Sixteen days before my birthday in March. I wonder what you were like when you were sixteen. I wonder who’s heart you broke then. The month you broke for me was February.

But I met you in April, I met you after each of us had turned the dreaded age of twenty-six. The age most people choose to forget. We had spent our birthdays without knowing who the other person was. But the rest of my twenty-sixth year I spent obsessing over you.

Over the way you made me feel like a person I hadn’t met. I hadn’t ever melted to the floor when I was in anyone else’s presence. I was enamored with our love. Our cliche, foolish, and reckless love. Maybe that’s why you were born in February. You were born during the month of love because you were meant to break so many damn hearts.

A dullness takes over my body. My shoulders droop towards the tiled floor. My head hangs over my chest. I can’t stand up straight. I drag my limp body and bloodshot eyes closer to the cash register. I’m melting again. But this time I don’t want it to take over my ability to react. My body waits in line.

I’m waiting for Spring because I don’t want to see my shadow anymore. My shadow who follows me around and tells me I’m not good enough. I’m not who you wanted. You wanted to leave and I wanted to see the flowers bloom. You see, I don’t want to wait around for you to come back.

Twenty-eight days of waiting. I’m waiting for February to end and it has only just begun. It has only twenty-eight days but I can’t wait that long. I can’t wait for this month to stretch me thin. Stretch me into someone I haven’t met. I haven’t met a day that goes by where I don’t think about you. I don’t think I can do this for twenty-eight more days.

Twenty-eight is now the age we’re both about to turn. We’re both in new phases of our lives. New phases of new people and new states. New me. A me I don’t want to know without you.

Because without you, I’m just a lonely girl in a grocery store. A lonely girl spending her money on Valentine’s candy because she has a case of the February’s.


My Secret


I don’t know what came over me the other night, but when I got off the phone with you I began to cry. I cried until I fell asleep like I was some baby who needed to soothe herself. And then I had a dream that you met my family.

I guess this goes to show that I’m confused and I’ve been this way since the first day I met you not too long ago. After our first date, I didn’t know what to think of you. You were a lot but I was intrigued. I was so intrigued I wanted to see you again and again until I realized this could be too much for me. You and I together could be a lot, a lot of bickering, a lot of stories, a lot of you and not enough of me, and a lot of confusion. But you continued to step up to the plate and open up to me. And for that, I thank you.

I’ve always been with the half-asses. The ones who showed me a good time until things started getting serious and then they slowly backed away until they were gone for good. The ones who talked to me about their life but never seemed to show me any of it. The ones who used my body as a toy for them to play with until a better version came out.

So I’ve always put one foot in the door and left the other one out, just in case. It wasn’t until last year when I put both feet through the doorway for someone. He ruined me after lying and cheating his way into my heart. And just when I was beginning to trust his true intentions he ran away and moved to my hometown. It was your typical heartbreak. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or go a day without thinking of him. And the worst part was, I couldn’t go home without seeing him and knowing he had moved on. I couldn’t go to the town that I grew up in because I knew he was there making it his own home with a new girl who mirrored me in every way possible.

So yes, I’ve been hurt. And this is only one brief story. But it’s the most recent one that hurts the most. I can’t help but think you can do the same thing to me. I can’t help but think that you could not want this and suddenly stop talking to me without any warning and vanish. I can’t help but think that when you don’t respond to me in a timely manner it’s because you’re off fucking some girl, not that you’re just trying to concentrate on your homework. I truly apologize, but it’s ingrained in me at this point.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to navigate these waters. I need you to be helpful and not hurtful. I don’t want to be away from you because it makes me anxious and when we’re together I feel at ease. I don’t want to annoy you with my obnoxious and bitchy behavior. I don’t want to put my past on your shoulders because I know it’s something I have to deal with, not you.

Because the truth of the matter is, I’ve never been in a serious relationship. I’ve never met the parents in a formal manner. I’ve never gone on trips with my “boyfriend”. I don’t even know if I’ve ever called someone my boyfriend in a serious tone. I’ve never said I love you to a guy and I’ve never heard it in return.

You told me everyone has a secret they’re trying to hide. Well, that’s mine. So if you’re looking for me to open up to you, there it is.

A Small Part of Me


There’s a small part of me

that lives down deep inside.

A part of me still loves you,

a part of me I thought died.

It thinks about you on rainy days

and days when the sun shines.

It thinks about you in the morning

and late into the night.

I would like to think about other things,

but this small part keeps my thoughts occupied.

It thinks about you when I don’t want to,

and it just so happens to make me cry.

This small part of me remembers the way your hand felt

when it brushed up against mine.

It has a fond memory of when you studied me

to guess the color of my eyes.

It recalls each time you laid me down before bed

and the way our legs intertwined.

What’s weird is this small part of me secretly knows

if you come back into my life.

I would be willing to take every inch of you,

and leave the bitterness behind.

The small part of me says this

even though you messed me up

and left without a goodbye.

But that part doesn’t know this

so it keeps bringing up thoughts

even after all this time.

As I listen to my head

and pretend like everything will be just fine.

I feel my chest rise and fall

but I don’t feel that small part of me tonight.

Two Broken Hearts


Two broken hearts have been captured in this bed.

“I shouldn’t be doing this,” one heart says.

But the mental damage has already been done.

The hearts beat rapidly side by side yet still numb.

Silently seeking for the person who caused the cracks.

These hearts are only pining for something to distract.

Lips slip together like smooth pieces of a puzzle.

No words are spoken their time together is muffled.

Bodies raging full of insecurity.

Their dance is nothing close to maturity.

One of the broken hearts has been left behind.

With nothing to latch on to, nothing to bind.


White Converse

Free Verse

I want to know why you picked her over me.

I want to know why you picked her over me when you can clearly see.

You can see the parts of me that are hidden inside of her face.

Everything is symmetrical and put in the best place.

But it wasn’t her perfect smile than shined brighter than mine.

It wasn’t her dark wavy hair that suddenly caught my eye.

She wore a flawless pair of converse in the whitest of hues.

Four years younger than me, and everything seems brand new.

Because the curves in her eyes matched the creases in mine.

The twists in her hips and thighs just reminded me of my small cup size.

Her skin has a dark glow and there are no freckles in sight.

And sometimes I wonder if it’s weird to think of what she smells like.

But let’s not forget her white converse that could shine.

She is adorning a pair that looks very similar to mine.

Except mine are covered in dirt and grass.

Because I’ve been through shit but she’s a class act.

I would wear these shoes over to your place.

I’d leave them by your bed on nights that I would stay.

But you don’t remember because now I’m hidden inside of her.

I guess I can now clearly see what you prefer.

You prefer someone that turned out to be…

beautiful, perfect, a better version of me.



My Wardrobe


As I touch a piece of clothing I try my best not to cry,

But every time I look at my wardrobe I’m taken back to a time.

I look on both sides of this small room and don’t know where to begin,

My clothes have memories attached to someone and my patience is wearing thin.

The first shirt hasn’t been worn in awhile, it’s the hardest piece to see,

It’s the loose navy top I wore on the memorable night you met me.

I paired it with skin-tight black jeans and my trustworthy combat boots,

A deathly combination I’d always sworn made me look super cute.

Agreement came in the form of a kiss on that very night,

Hearts thumping like crazy as you held me close under a cliche streetlight.

We kept our bodies near so I liked wearing my soft crimson henley,

You’d fasten me in your arms and caress my ribcage ever so gently.

I fought off my feelings for you because you told me you would not be here long,

When you held me in your sleep I felt you grab at the clothes I kept on.

Holding back my fears was one thing, hoping you wouldn’t string me along,

I took out my skin tight black jeans one night and put those combat boots back on.

I wore my deathly combination of black and paired it with a sheer sweater,

The bar was buzzing but I was only looking forward to our night together.

We drank beer and watched hockey before walking hand in hand back to your place,

And fell asleep watching tv on the couch; when we awoke I saw it on your face.

Rain drizzled from the dark sky as we walked across the parking lot that morning,

You shielded me with your neon work vest which made you quite adorning.

Rain turned to sunshine and I was able to flaunt more of my silky soft skin,

But this time around felt different and I craved your hands spelling out sin.

The hot weather made me throw on a pair of cutoff shorts and show up at your loft,

Falling off one shoulder was the forest green top I could so easily slip off.

Nights like these were simple and picking out my clothes became a piece of cake,

But the impending date of your departure was upon us and my body began to ache.

The same body that wore black trousers and a blouse with tiny white polka dots.

My work attire showed a new side of me and you were there to help drop me off.

We shared two waffles the morning you drove me to school in your truck,

We talked about the ins and outs of work and how you weren’t able to pick me up.

Darkened streets yet I felt safe as you drove us and I listened to your every word,

You stopped in the parking lot and kissed me goodbye with a sweet and subtle smirk.

Something about your gritty smile made that damn smirk the part of you I liked best.

Now I know it was just a joke because you gave it to me the morning before you left.

This time I was the one to give you the kiss goodbye as I crawled onto your mattress,

I was wearing a soft pink thermal when I was left to wonder the state of our status.

I guess now I can say I am pretty lucky that it is no longer warm outside,

So I put away those cutoff shorts that you would so easily slide down my thighs.

Those black jeans have seen better days and I’m tired of the wear and tear.

The black combat boots started to rip so I decided it was time to get a new pair.

But nothing can replace the feelings that my wardrobe still holds dear.

I just wish you’d left me with something that made sense, something more clear.

My fingers brush the hanging clothes and the damp corners of my eyes,

As I continue to look around this closet it is hard to put my feelings aside.

In Between Girl

Free Verse

I’m that girl. The girl I never expected to be. The girl you find during the in-between phase of your life. The phase most girls know all too well. “He just got out of a relationship so he’s not looking for anything serious.” The pain already begins to swell in my heart.

Because I know nothing serious comes in the form of actually being your girlfriend but not reaping all the benefits. I won’t ever meet the parents or siblings but I hear plenty of stories about them. You show me pictures of your childhood home and I’ll pretend like I’ll eventually meet your family someday. Someday when he’s ready.

I’m that girl. The girl that never pushes the girlfriend label. The girl whom you always consider totally cool with just a chill night in. But what you don’t understand is that the night chills me.

I feel the shiver run down my spine when you slowly begin to touch me. I feel like if I let go I will crumble into a million pieces. I have to keep up the image. You use my body like it’s some toy for you to play with, that is of course until a better version of me comes out.

I’m that girl. The girl that never deems herself as the competitive type. Because why care? It only hurts to do so. Like when I played soccer and every girl on my team cried but me when we lost a game. I thought that meant I was heartless.

But like most people, I found out I had a heart just because I felt it break. Now I can only sense a deep hole where my feelings used to belong. A burning sensation of total numbness.

I’m that girl. The girl that’s easy to leave without a trace. Because I was never your girlfriend. I just was the girl who rubbed your back in bed after a long day of work. I was just the friend you would cook for. I was just the girl who put you to sleep. I was the just the friend who willingly stayed the night.

But when you leave me you won’t find another girl like me. You will find the girl that you were meant to be with and she will meet your whole family and see that childhood home I only dreamed of. While I’m still that girl stuck in between.

The Bridge I’ve Built


They said to take some time, cry,

but she should also move on.

Build that damn bridge girl

he’s officially gone.

Cliche words handed over to

the girl with a broken heart.

Left alone without a word

her insides have fallen apart.

But here she is one year later

still trying to sort it out.

That bridge she was building

is broken and full of doubt.

The first board she put down when

she told herself this won’t last.

She could hear others whisper

watch how quickly this will pass.

Her bridge-building skills aren’t great

and she has delicate hands.

He held them as they watched a movie

or when he asked her for a slow dance.

Yet she continued hammering boards

without any engineer assistance.

But there are gaps from his absence when

he obviously needed some distance.

The bridge laid out before her

isn’t a very clear path.

Most boards have been broken from

the heartbreak aftermath.

Her head tells her to take the rickety path

and maybe you will learn as you go.

But the heart warns her she could fall

for someone she barely even knows.

The soul demands to strike a match

to burn everything that lies ahead.

She looks around hesitant

and takes another path instead.