and here is a fairytale for you, my dear:
here is a story that starts with a once upon a time
and a love like a fork in the road of my ribcage,
all thick underbrush and gnarled branches and the beam of your flashlight
reeling, arcing, sputtering out
a strangled S.O.S,
twigs snapping underfoot as the wolf’s eyes
wink in the half-light,
for the fingers of fear
that graze the back of your neck.

{I had forgotten to stay to the path, my darling;
{I had forgotten that I was wearing a red hood that night.}



3. it starts with the car after the crash,
with the orchid after the blizzard,
with the throat after the scream.
it starts with yearning carving infinity signs into your skull,
barbed-fingered and bleeding and god,
whoever declared desperation beautiful
never let it make a nest inside them.

{it starts with love like fishhooks in my heart,

2. it ends with the stillness before the gunshot,
with the pause before the jump—
with you bent low over the water, opium-eyed,
trying to fish the stars out of the stream.

{no one ever believed I didn’t hear you fall.}

1. imagine, dear gentlemen of the jury, if you’d please:
a warning on the news flashing across the screen,
saying that they found the person who killed you;
saying that it must have been me.

{tell me:
{how many times do you have to fall in love
{before they consider it some kind of suicide?}


1. listen to the click of my heels;
listen to how I walk on sharpened knives.

{listen when I say that you are tinder compared to my flames.}

2. listen: I am a secret-seller,
a merchant of half-truths,
a dealer of white lies.

{listen when I say that every girl chooses a different path
{to her own destruction.}

3.  listen– there are wolves circling the carcass of your heart,
and they grow closer every day.

{listen when I say that if you aren’t terrified,
{you aren’t paying attention.}


I. in my head there is a garden where flowers grow:
             wild flowers,
                                flowers vacant of petals,
                                                                        flowers that taper off
                                                                                                                    into thorns.

                  {in my chest there is an ocean with no waves.}

II. in my veins resentment is a forest fire
            and it consumes the forest
      of my bones.

            {and there are small things in the trees,

III. in my mind I stand proud but not tall;
            in my mind my words are shards
                        of glass,
my will a Molotov cocktail,
                  my smile the curved edge
    of a kitchen knife.

            {the fall of your axe,
    {a baptism.}

V. know this: blunt claws are still claws.
                  I will burn
                                   and break
                                               and be

                  {a fire is nothing to a phoenix.}


step one: realize that there is something slow-acting in your veins.
realize that there is more to this
than their words smearing crescents across your throat,
and your lips death-white,

{breathe, and realize that you are in love with your best friend:
{clutch it to your chest like a second heart.}

step two: let the secret curl like smoke between you—
let it suck the colour from your skin. let it rise like the tide behind your teeth.
let it remind you that there are eyes everywhere
and that you are running out of places to hide.

step three: let your life unspool into a series of what-ifs,
a sequence of but-if-I’s,
a string of late-night regrets and wishes like broken glass,
scattered and splintered and star-bright.

step four: realize that home picked itself up from its place in your heart
and left.

{admit that your life is at a cliffhanger,
{and that you are too scared to turn the page.}


i. this is me remembering how October painted you in reds and golds
and brittle adoration,
frost-tinged and fleeting
amongst the trees that warned of winter.
this is me mourning the January ghost of you-
the shadow that still surfaces sometimes
to haunt the candle-flicker of your smile.

{I think our love was blooming out of season.}

ii. this is me unpinning the yearning from my chest;
this is me peeling wistfulness from my eyelids and bleeding apathy
onto all of our old photographs.

{I think my heart skipped town when it heard that you were leaving.}

iii. this is me burying it:
this is me picking up the shovel
and putting the corpse of us to rest.

{I think that, maybe, our form of forever
{lasted just long enough.}