They Took My Pencils Away: A Prayer

TW…psychiatric hospitalization, suicidal ideation, self harm, the Temple
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My doctor asked me to write down warning signs
I wrote “praying”
And he asked me why

I know I haven’t been to the temple in a while
But I’d know these white walls anywhere
A nurse helps me change into a hospital gown
I think I fell asleep standing up

“Welcome sister, can I see your recommend?”
I sign the consent to treatment form.
“In the name of the father, the son, and the holy ghost”
The ER doctor takes his hands off my head and sits next to me
“We’re very lucky you didn’t take enough to hurt yourself, but this is clearly a cry for help.”

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Titles of Liberty

On loving glass women
Glass men
And glass gods

On welding your hands
To curved iron rods

On fruit made of sunlight
That burns when you eat
On wars that you fight
With shattered retreats

On grey trees
And grey neighbors
Grey houses
Grey time

On boundaries of smoke
And holograph lines

On the girl made of starstuff
And the boy forged in coal
On babies held hostage
On shards in your soul

On trauma that's bitter
And trauma that's sweet
On candy nails
And broken feet

Jesus and My Feet

There's a space that begs for poems
But I have no blood to write in
And I'm too young to choke to death on broken dreams

And I'm drowning in these memories
But I have no blood to fight them
So I think that I should probably go to sleep

But I'll sit here in the space you've made
From poetry and rhythm
And I'll try not to feel the weight between these notes

And on Sunday they will talk about
How Jesus healed the broken
But they'll never stop to ask who crushed my feet

Letters From the Sea

I got your letter in the mail today
Its corners dripping salt
And I wonder if you think of me
Where castle ceilings vault

I set it on my bookshelf
And I haven't broke the seal
I don't want to read of starscapes
That I don't believe are real

You wrote your address on the corner
With ink that smelled like space
But I don't want to read appeals
To my ancestors or grace

So your letter's on my bookshelf
Dripping salt and grains of sand
There's too much sea inside it
To be opened on the land

To the King Across My Chessboard

I'm standing on this cloud
Because this book belongs to you
It's filled with all the thoughts and promises
I made before I knew

Before you told me there's a woman
Who threads fire through her hair
Whose iceberg eyes are made from stars
You forged in holiness and prayer

And if the bishops on this chessboard
Are right and speak the truth
Then I'm off to dwell in darkness
I'm not leaving her for you

But I'm quite sure you folded glory
In the forests of her soul
The same way you painted fire
In men whose eyes are made of coal

So I'm standing on this cloud
Because this writing is not mine
And while I'll miss your starry buildings
I believe her heart's a sign

Houses by the Sea

I remember when you kissed my hand
Like softly pouring rain
There's not a single fracture in my soul
That dared to stay the same

I still feel your fingers laced in mine
Trying not to change the past
And this everything you left with me
Is endless. It is vast.

My head is filled with could-have-beens
And houses by the sea
While Gods of grey remind me
That we do not love for free

I will never touch your hand again
We are finite, laced with pain
But on nights when whispers haunt me
I'll pretend you're in the rain

I'll pretend you paint the sunsets
And the shapes inside the clouds
I'll pretend that I'd have no regrets
If I'd dared to love out loud