I’m washing dishes and already she has been hit by a drunk driver

Shot in her bed by police

Her heart fizzled out from loving too much

Many times before going to bed I’ve seen her forgetting my name

I see someone else screening my calls 

Answering with one-word messages before I finally find out the inevitable

I’m in the shower and she’s drowning

From her own blood, in a lake

My father is screaming, my sister is crying, and I’m making funeral arrangements

Trying to remember what the six primary seasonings were, 

where the red beans and rice recipe was whether or not pattern goes with pattern

I want to record our conversations so I have messages to scroll through but I keep thinking about when I get to the end of them

When no one agrees with me

Or sees my side of things

When she finally picks up I remember

I have to stop practicing for my mother’s death

When I’m sitting at my desk in the morning

Daija just died yesterday

Danielle can’t see her face in all the paint

My mother and I don’t know what to say

Each day it’s harder to wake 

While Tabs, papers, and links fill my desk

The sun is the only one who fills me in the warring

Generations of expectations and no money to shop

With your tasks there is no time for mourning

All I want is to water my plants now

When scrolling I know I would rather my pain

In all that I’ve heard I just don’t know how

To live knowing some are worth just a word       

The sky turns grey but there is no change

Answers may come with age

When my legs become the white noise crinkling from the tv in a storm

This is where my voice is 

Socotra coffee house is a sea of color

And when I order my small adeni chai I feel at home in a language I don’t understand

My heels hanging on to a metal seat frame 

Typing busy bees, the meaning of indeterminancy, and complaints of capitalism

“And when you cross this divide, you’ll get what we’ve all been denied” 

I call my mother because I’ve finally found the right line

Note from the poet:

This is the first poem in the new Written in red series, which are poems focusing on the personal, creative, and political

My stomach is empty

But I can’t eat

I’m sitting on a couch 

The same couch where one message from you once caused my hands to shake has me shaking again

The same couch where I finished my musical

Where I kissed a mistake 

Wrote emails and gossiped and found crumbs 

My stomach is empty 

But I can’t eat 

“Once I’m done with people they’re gone” 

You’re gone but your name has never come up more

I’m thinking of you hoping to rewrite your name into acceptance 

Or suppressing every thought to forget your presence 

Maybe if I get rid of all your stuff I’ll feel full 

if I go to Blue Llama if I go to Pinball Pete’s maybe I’ll be comfortable in chaos 

My stomach is empty but I cannot eat 

I can’t watch anything I’ve never seen 

I cry when I can’t ge a refund for a cake at coldstone

I sleep with my back aching under LED lights at christmas time

When the pit passes 

I find a few moments where I’m freed

My stomach is empty and I see through the haze

I finally eat 

Before one message sets me off again

Till when will we be tender

You tell me in too little words that our time is limited 

Your eyes staring straight ahead while stroking my arm

To what end will I time out 

Till you lose me while talking about the now 

In limited dim lit doom who am I to assume

That you would want to whether waning weather with me

Am I so semi permanent 

Is it so easy to slip away 

Still I find myself slipping to sleep

Slumped against some warmth 

Waiting while wanting

Wilting when knowing