this is how it feels -
like a candle that has to choke on its own
flame, catch its spark before it goes out.

when I was a small child, my grandparents
and I went to the beach and my grandpa had
gotten my bright pink, barely inflated inner tube
and started floating in the ocean waters.
about ten minutes from the time I started building a sandcastle
and just when I started getting a bad sunburn,
we look over and he is so far away, we can barely see him.
my granny had a panic attack while the lifeguard went out to
get him. I wasn’t sure if he was ever coming back.

this is how it tastes -
when the bile rushes back up the back of your
throat, right before you hit your first deer
and the noiseless scream that lasts the
rest of the drive home.
it is biting the same spot on your cheek
five times and tasting the metallic, iron blood
on your tongue.

The first time I went overseas,
I got locked in my hotel room.
I couldn’t find a way out, so I caved into
the rock-hard, musty bed and sobbed until
there was nothing left.
My mom found me after she unlocked the door
from the outside.

It is the loud sobs overheard from outside the room,
the silence afterwards, the lock, and the
fact that I was on the wrong side of the door.

it is like finally falling in love, only
to lose it so quickly - the ache
in my chest -
that emptiness -
it never subdues -
it never

Amanda Helm, When a Poet Loses Their Words

I learned in my science class the other day
that a red blood cell has the power to make a
complete circuit of the human body in twenty seconds.
When you decide to go,
it will not be a clean break
and I will always wonder if
somewhere, in some other space in time,
we became all new circuits.
Our new bodies would not fall prey to the brokenness inside of us,
we would not sleep with our backs to one another,
we would keep every promise we ever made,
and we would mean it every time we made love.
But it’s over now, with these tired hands and exhausted love. It’s over.

Amanda Helm, Red Blood Cells (via amandaspoetry)

Crooked Soul


My sleep is wrecked 
But it’s never been normal anyway 
And I’ve been down 
I’ve been filling my mind with colors and sound 

And I have found that I’m a ghost 
Grinding my teeth like I’ve done most my life 
Trying to smooth out my crooked soul 
Crooked soul 
Crooked soul