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.