i am eating the dog and the dog is eating the tail and there is a symphony of bees flying through the grass and the fleas are all over.

the trees in the distance want you to think they have no end; they want you to think that there is something worth waiting for,

the skyline approaching your eyes and the dogs running out, tongues made for licking and paws made for


and i am crying when i feel

the birth from your skin of the bile you kept

waiting in the pockets of your pores.

and i am crying when i hear that you feel like there is nothing for you to share

with anyone else but me.

cling to the surfaces you tread upon, take the daughter out of your womb,

put her into the casket you had built beforehand, and watch her grow.

are her wings the ones you wanted to clip? do they have the same boring feathers,

the same tattered skin underneath the upper layer, the clothing you left scattered about, naked, undressed, and longing for

a blanket?

i am trapped in skin and i am cutting escape holes in the air ducts, tunneling my way out,

and i think about my mother and the way she would dump water on my head to wake me up for school,

and i think of the way that i slid my uncut thumbnail down my wrist in 4th grade art class because they looked at me with those eyes,

and i see those eyes everywhere now, even behind the warmest radiators, even behind god, even behind the nurse,

and i KNOW that the things i hate are right under my nose, i KNOW that you can see them and i can't, i KNOW so stop fucking telling me,

and nobody is around anymore.

dead Pittsburgh air, co2 emissions escaping my mouth into shared breaths with other strangers.

thin ice forming on the ground, wet spots where the buses splash the sidewalk as they pass.

lonesome city and its spotlight shining through tinted office buildings, scouring.

homeless people on the street asking for the time when they really want your change.

asking for change only takes up your time.

box layout pattern, grid imposed onto actual living conditions.

landlords snarl and side-eye passers-by, audibly grunting. their chafed necks reddened by the cold,

dead Pittsburgh air.


the desire to be wanted only arrives during the most intense isolation,

sitting in the corner of a room, telling you like an annoying friend,

"i was right all along, you should have done the thing i told you to do,

and now you didn't, and now look where you are:

playing tug of war with the belt arund your neck,

withering away in the place you call home,

refusing to call your friends and family because they think

you are faking it, are not confident enough, just need to grow up."

you will put one pillow over your ears as you face down into the other one,


spitting, slobbering all over,

and it will catch your tears like a rain vane,

it will tell you how much you matter to those around you,

and since you studied so well you already know the answer.


He thinks of a time when he was happier.

Blinds opened up, letting sunlight squirm into the household,

Shades pulled back. Dr. Pepper in a glass in the boy’s hand

In the parking lot of an apartment complex in Liberty, Missouri,

Located around 20 minutes outside of Kansas City, Missouri to the northeast,

He, the boy, being born at Liberty Hospital to his mother,

_________, surrounded by loving family, the first of his generation.

He was there in the parking lot,

But he was also in his room punching holes into his skin,

And he was also in a different apartment a couple years earlier

Getting his limbs snapped like a dry branch met a dirty-toothed chainsaw,

Ripping at soft flesh, breaching the bark, counting the rings of the tree

To see how many years it waited for this special occasion-


A bee flew in his mouth one time. It ended up coming out only after

He was stung in the lip. It swelled, blistered, peeled over and

Was by all accounts grotesque, a sight to not see, a site too

Harsh to bear witness too, teeth gnawing at the artificial flesh hill, coated in chapstick.

So blind he was, not to himself but to others,

Not for himself but for others, finding solace in the corners of the room

Where he didn’t need to expect people to find him.

He saw himself curdled in the arms of prickling bears and soft cacti,

Writhed among the archaic bones and bathroom-etched promises

That would never come to fruition.

He thinks of a time when he was happier,

And it never came to him. He thought it odd that there always dwelled within him

This feeling of something perpetually lost, a longing for an object out of his purview,

A Christmas gift always too much money, always the next year, will

End up coming around to him. And when he is greeted by it, he will not show it

Warmth, compassion, empathy, kindness—

he will only want more.