Disintegration

Your eyes had glazed over icy cool, more blue than warm. I always told myself you’re there, you’re in there, I know it and if only my arms were a little longer. I wanted to reach in, hold you, teach you how to love the way you taught me. You had forgotten your own lessons. When did you begin to run on this toxic combination of pain and oxygen. What happened to your fire? I wanted to rekindle your heat but your insides were too damp with uncried tears diluting your own wisdom.

I did not know of your new drills, that you choked on chords and your shower-songs had been washed away by pink-red water. That your damp pillow had taken over putting you to sleep every night, an affair I’d only trusted the stars with. That your pen met paper as seldom as your magic smile curved your lips. It’s so clear now, crystal clear, that you were never afraid of footpaths and heights and science lab root sections and apple seeds, but of yourself. Scars on your skin, scars in your heart.

Snapped wire, broken glass. You always used to say ‘shattered’ has a beautiful sound, only you stopped once its feel spiralled into your existence. I wish I had shown you how when you were 4, you played with a glass-painting kit and the broken pieces fascinated you because they were so pretty. I wish I had force-painted your wings with war paint before your knife decided they had to go. Why didn’t you let them grow.

I wish I could see you wave goodbye to airplanes once more, not caring for a second whether people were watching. And again. And again. So many shades of colour took flight when you left without a goodbye. What are the colours like, where you are now? Does your golden glitter heart see more than black and white again.

I remember you from when you left little surprise hearts in our notebooks and always sang the loudest as we blew out birthday candles and how you were more proud of us than we were of ourselves and how your soft chin quivered as you tried hard not to cry when we did. This is how I choose to remember you.
You taught me the science of time. Today could be my last tomorrow. Or anyone’s. And with this knowledge, I promise to learn to love living every day. For you.

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On Your Shrinking

you look at yourself in those mirrors on the walls of the bathrooms in the mall sideways now,
sucked-in cheeks, and I remember
that crop-top you bought, that crop-top, a scale for your chest and your waist, a promise
but you threw it out yesterday,
tag and all from the last eleven months because it took you a while,
a long chain of missed meals and feigned burps, to get there
and that cruel crop-top allowed, after eleven months of waiting and ‘controlling’,
allowed the moonlight to still dance with the new shiny stretch marks on your waist
the tag from the reject pile mocking you,
reflecting the number that you skipped ice-cream dates and pizza parties to save up,
to save up for this crop-top you dreamed you’d one day slay
what a shame, you invited the chain to choke you till you coughed your happiness away

every grumble in your stomach was a step away from this cage, a step towards ‘control’, a step full of pain, unimaginable pain, but
but, well, at least your jawline and your collarbones are now
nearly as sharp as the silver knife that offered you its company while you stared at your kitchen door with empty eyes
and turned your hollow torso away as it extended its warm, welcoming hand of friendship
with laboured ease

your fight wasn’t with your mum over the sugar in your cereal every breakfast every morning,
it wasn’t with your favourite cheesecake
you’re battling with your own body and your head,
they’re screaming as society triumphantly plays divide and rule and
you’re terrified and confused and just sit, crying, hoping
that the tears rolling down this little child’s cheeks will be enough
to shut both the sides up and have them retreat, or better,
make peace
just a child

fast forward four months, and hey, this is a weird feeling,
you’re seeing your ribs up close for the first time in your sixteen years of owning them
the lunch bell triiings in your nightmares every night and
you’ve now recognized that group of friends that doesn’t care about you enough to check what you’re eating,
whether you’re eating

maybe if you would just look at how your eyes become stars every time you smile,
you wouldn’t scold that little lock of hair beside your ear
for failing this once to cover up
the second little chin that makes an appearance every time
someone or something lights up your face
because your face lights up!
you are the sun.

look past, please, your stomach bulging over your belt,
and at the book that you bent over to pick up to give to the boy whose things those mean, mean girls and boys
knocked out of his arms,
look at his lips mouth thank you, thank you, you angel

your body, darling, is not you
those boys and girls, perhaps, whispered to your head to never be kind to you
but maybe you only need to be the beautiful, gorgeous person you are,
let your body feel as lucky to be your coat as you once felt unlucky to be its seed.
teach your body that it only encases the magic that is you
and has every reason to be so, so proud
you’re that many cubed centimetres more beautiful, concentrated.

Angel

There are ten million people in the city tonight
And one angel.
Touching souls,
Plotting promises of good days to come
Where screams once painted sleepless nights.
“Everything will be okay, honey.”

“I won’t ever recover from this.”
Broken shards of glass
Still shine in the light.
Still can be picked up and
United to reflect the colours of your dearest dreams.
Don’t give up.
You have to win.

“Okay, I want to.
But isn’t zero worth more than a minus thousand?”

Every life is a pile of good things and bad things, he says.
The good things don’t always soften the bad, 
But the bad things don’t spoil the good.
It isn’t a minus thousand.
It’s a hundred, and a minus five, and a seven, and a minus thirty.
Numbers are your friends.
Zero isn’t worth anything.

“I no longer believe that there exist good things.
I can’t think of any; there must not
be any.”

If you stare at the sky long enough, he teaches,
You begin to see the stars.

“I see them now,” I realize, in awe.
He smiles at me until my smile is no longer under my own control.
The angel that lit up my life.

Love,
Ta-treyi.
8/1/17