Fire past my tongue,

Past my throat, past my lungs,

Climbing all the ladder rungs,

Roasting feelings I had hung

Out to dry in the air —

Guilt, anxiety, despair —

From when I thought nobody’d care

For what was tangled in my hair;

Fire in my brain;

Liquid choler, liquid pain,

Liquid sadness, breathe again;

I was numb and now know shame;

‘Cause there’s fire past my tongue,

Past my throat, past my lungs;

Inhale the smoke and I am done,

And though I fought, the fire won.


Unstable fluids, chem fire spectra,

Glowing all colors and bursting through veins

And arteries — flowing, my aqua electra,

Burn lonely silence to grisly remains;

You look upon my thick insulation,

In closed, layered flesh, seeking more in vain;

You don’t want my energy’s toxic corrosion,

And I’ll never unleash it ever again —

Not in the presence of your virgin senses,

And not to any human who can perceive

Can I open my mouth and release a torrent

Of noxious emotions that one might believe;

Despite this, desire dissolving my conscience

Bleeds through in black droplets that some still receive;

The remnants of which stain my innards in blotches;

From whose effects I’ll never get a reprieve.

Phantom Pain

It’s over, it’s done, the battles are won,

And there’s no one left to save;

We’ve dug ourselves free, I’m allowed to be me,

And I’ve avoided the grave.

We have our friends back, we’ve picked up the slack,

And we’ve grown along the way;

But the feelings still here as the darkness draws near

Are the same ones to us the past gave.

So now when I cry or want to say goodbye,

They say that they can’t understand,

And when I keep to myself or leave it on the shelf,

I should talk; that’s what they demand.

But whether I try or concede to die,

The empty spots are left unchecked,

And the dark, patchy stains that we hold in phantom pain

Will remain heavy in our hand.


Feelings are little, multicolored fish that swim across the sky, piercing clouds sometimes to be reminded of the denser waters from which they seem to have come. The clouds, too, are pigmented; the ambient light of the sun’s rays in a neverending day splits and ricochets, sending moving beams of colored light from the scales of passersby to their linings.

You visit my aquarium and point them out — “look, over here, and over there! Look at them go, before they’re gone,” you urge. You tug on my arm and peer up at my empty face, wanting my attention. I notice nothing; to me, those fish are nothing but ordinary. I passively stare at the spectacle behind the curved glass at whichever fish you deem worthy of analysis — but you are a child who has never seen fish swim through the air before, let alone in this aquarium (or rather, this aviary). I am a conditioned worker here, showing you what you wanted to see. My hand is held tightly by yours, and I barely reciprocate.

Pan away from our local destination and you begin to realize that the caged fragment of airy sky that comprises this space has a shape and borders. It curves around the sides and top, and its seams are sealed shut at the temples and atop a lofty spine. Ears, eyes, and a mouth open widely to feed the fish inside, but they are not allowed freedom into the potentially deadly air outside.

You, still behind the glass with me, begin to speak of change as you grip my hand now with both of yours. “If those fish can change colors and move,” you inquire, “why can they not travel to anywhere else? Why are the invisible walls behind the blinding, white light of the sun unyielding and thick?” I answer you only with the history behind the process of them being built. I claim, “This is progress — this is growing up.”

Our conversation collapses, and all falls silent. I stare at the glass alone, and only after a moment of spacing out do I realize that you have disappeared. Your voice is gone, and I now stand glancing at the glass, longing for something or someone to fill the pure, white void in me. Perhaps I miss you, but there is too much light. I perceive fog where there is only this bright light, for the sense of ambiguity in my line of sight makes me believe that they might as well be the same. See you again, dear visitor.