welcome home, starling

you are safe now

Sea State

Sea State

it’s that kind of morning

where the fog

rolls indoors

and you can’t tell if

you’re still fucked up

from last night

or if it’s genuinely that cold.

it’s that kind of morning

where you see yourself

in every breath

on the bathroom mirror.

the shower won’t be warm

for a while yet,

so you lie in bed waiting

for a sign the girl

you left over the ocean

is awake because

you’re sick

you’ve already taken two

like the doctors always say

but you’ve got nobody to call

in the morning.

she says,

“I had a dream

about burning boats

last night. we

were on the lake near your house

we had paper lanterns,

their candles hanging

from wire frames, the wax

dripping down our thighs.

you thought they could fly

as if the hot air inside

could take them

into the breeze

like paper balloons

but they fell

and I dreamed about burning boats

and we were in them.”

you both know

you’re probably going to be

the first friend of hers

to go to prison, because

ever since you left home

you’ve been looking

for trouble

in every corner

going home late

past the early sunsets

watching your back

putting your hand

in your jacket

pretending it’s a gun.

it’s a habit

from an island

where 2am

is a good time to walk.

you both know, too,

there is more

than her

and there is more

than you, and

that nobody

could ever be


but enough only matters

when you’ve had any.

there is never


so the only one

you stand naked for

is the mirror

and every night

you remind yourself

you both thought

you were enough.

you don’t tell her

you still think of her

sometimes, or that

you remember the lake

beside your house,

where you slipped the fence

alone on a windless night,

held a paper boat

with a candle on top,

set it on the water

like a lamp for a prayer

pushed it away

and watched

its sails catch fire

and burn into its hull,

and let it sink,


Photo credit: ce matin, un lapin via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Buttons and Ties

Buttons and Ties