Claims

“One thing is certain, all the people who have claimed to love you have come in and out of your life but the only person who has always been there for you is me. For the life of me, I don’t know why I keep trying.”

one thing is certain
all the people
who have claimed to love me
come in and out of my life
but the only person who has
never been there for me properly
is her
for the life of me
i don’t know why she didn’t
start trying sooner

for the life of me
i’m glad she stopped trying

Withholding 

love is a slice of frozen orange
i twirl around the inside of my mouth
i can’t
shake
the shape
of the syllables
even when i should be distracted
by this man inside my body but
inside my mouth
are these words that get warmer
as they stay
still or
as they sway

if i don’t say them
will i swallow them?
how will he know?

will he be able to tell
by the way my mouth looks
when i swallow the slice

when the letters
don’t matter anymore?

Because (of) the Internet

They say you can’t hide on the internet. Anonymity is fragile and most of us have barely a cursory understanding of encryption. The data we make is permanent inscription, unlike letters carved into stone that will degrade with time. Now that we are all living in a digital world the tracks we leave behind us cannot be covered by dirt or brush. The wind won’t blow away the nudes I sent to my LiveJournal friend in high school.

I at least take solace in the law with that one.

You can hide in the internet. I did. In 2001 I was exactly the 19 year old girl from somewhere in California I always dreamed of being. I took my cues from the manic pixie dream girl trope and added on some authentic kindness and grit. I was her inside the screen. I was nothing behind it. I was 11.

They say catfishing is cruel but it was my only training. These interesting older people would discount me immediately if I came out. By the end of our interactions, usually lasting a few months, I’d find myself taking an ethical high ground I didn’t have the language for. Sanctions and punishments for bad behavior. I’d leave the 22 year old from Indiana behind questioning everything his parents ever said about his innate goodness that kept him from making any real effort to be good.

Sometimes they’d come back around to tell me I made a difference. I would be 12 or 13. Still nothing behind the screen.