the five senses and fixation

every time somebody touches me without warning, it feels like

i’m in the middle of a firepit, every time somebody touches me,

a thousand school bells ring in both ears, i walk in intervals of 7,

and my footsteps must alternate between stepping on a crack and

the middle-point between the two cracks, i’ve always

avoided stepping stones for this reason, the front of my

chapstick on my desk needs to be facing me, or i

firmly believe it’s livid, and never speaking

to me again. most times when i say, “i love you too”

i feel like i’m forging my parent’s signature,

even though i love all people a lot. a little too much,

maybe. it’s just that it never sounds the way i want it to.

when people ask me why i haven’t dated

anyone in years, the saliva i swallow during that pause tastes

like expired milk. biting my nails is a way

of carving away at my soul. i like double-digit even

numbers, they tell me that safety

exists. when i cry, my eyes burn with the

taste of too much lime. when i feel dead

on the outside, both my palms are black holes. i must

eat sandwiches in a circular motion to the center,

so that the world is balanced,

so that no hearts are broken today. that’s why i don’t

like to eat sandwiches from deli’s, they fall apart.

i must keep the layer of ice cream in the tub smooth,

so that nobody faces a bumpy ride.

on days like these, i picture being stood up at the altar

by a secret admirer that doesn’t exist.

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