I was empty and you filled me, and I thought it was good like flowers growing in the cracks, but I was wrong; you were a tree that took root in the middle of my sidewalk and broke the cement apart and left me crumbling.

House by the Sea

There’s a house by the sea

where I picture myself living;

waves pounding the rocks

as they move violent against shore,

and I sit down and let my feet hang

off the cliff in my front yard.

I let out a laugh,

vicious water skimming my toes,

because I keep dreaming of a final embrace with gravity:

we hug tightly but then I say goodbye,

pulling back, it lets me go,

and I would fall, barely missing the rocks

and my body would plunge into the sea

where I belong, where I deserve to be.

I let out another stupid laugh.

Thank goodness gravity loves me a little too much.


Black magic

He stepped through the beaded curtain and his hands gathered sweat between his warm skin and the cold glass of the vial. He clenched it tight and dared not let it go, dared not look at it until he was somewhere safe. He walked the entire way back, 24 street blocks. He could have taken a cab but he figured the walk would do him good. He arrived home as the sun did a curtsey to the New Orleans skyline. He opened the door and walked straight into his room, took root in his bed, and for the first time since he grabbed it, he looked at the vial. Spectacular purples, a deep lavender, and a vicious pink swirled around. The colors seems to blend and be totally separate all at once, and he wondered how that could be, but then he remembered this was black magic he was holding. He recalled the words the woman spoke to him, with elegance only a queen of Voodoo could hold. “One sip a day, that’s the limit. You’ll see her, and she’ll almost be real. Almost. Don’t forget that, and don’t forget that there are always consequences.” He paid her with five drops of his blood, which was weird, and he knew that, but he needed this. He needed her. So here he was on his bed watching the colors swirl, and he raised the vial to his lips. One sip. She was there, sitting next to him on the bed, and he could almost smell her like rose petals dancing under his nostrils. “Maria, “ he began, but she shushed him and pushed him down onto his back. Her eyes screamed of want, and he shed his clothes. His hand reached down and he grew erect, and he could almost feel her hand there guiding his up and down, up and down, and it felt so good. He rocked back and forth with her and he was happy. When he woke up it was morning, and his head ached, and she wasn’t there anymore. He made himself breakfast and tried to ignore the fact that she wasn’t there. He showered and tried to ignore the fact that she wasn’t there. He paced his room and shuffled the vial in his hands and tried to ignore the fact that she wasn’t there. Damn it, he thought, and he took another sip. She was in the living room, and he walked over to her, and he could almost see the sun shining on her black hair. He reached for her and held her, and he started crying and she didn’t ask why. He held her for hours and she held him back, and in the blink of an eye, she was gone, and he sat on the sofa for the rest of the day and thought about how bad his head hurt and how empty his heart felt. He continued this for days, taking his one sip, seeing her, feeling her, almost. In a month’s time he was down to his last drop, and he savored it on the tip of his tongue. She was there, and she was telling him that yes, she was real. She was screaming at him, and he could almost hear her. She grabbed the vial from his hand and the glass shattered on the ground and now he was screaming. And he grabbed her and slapped her across the face because it didn’t matter, she wasn’t real, and he left to go down to the Voodoo shop and give more blood, because then he could see her all over again.

She watched him drink himself to death, and she left and moved back in with her parents. She was afraid he would hurt her again. She was gone all day, but she still loved him. Once a day she would visit him, make sure he hadn’t killed himself. She would hold him. But she couldn’t find it in her to stay. She never understood why he needed to drink to believe that she was real.