drowning

“Desolate and empty

the sea—”

how come we are all drowning

and we cannot see each other

gasping for breath under water?

You could have done something

for him, you know,

all you people dressed in black,

crowded around the urn.

but that is what he

must have been thinking too

and perhaps his voice

must have been a whisper,

a smiling ghost surveying the room.

 

© Alexandra Jema

divinity

I wanted to be dazzling,

like Venus in the late June sky,

glittering gold in the evening,

named after beauty personified—

and now I am twenty-five

and all the things in the poems make sense

and all the songs too

and everyone just gets better and better

at lying

including myself,

so good, I don’t even know

when I am telling the truth

 

© Alexandra Jema

death by water

sometimes I pretend to be the hanging Sybil

(sometimes I am, wanting to die)

when I was little I was a prophet,

but now my dreams make less sense

 

how many more days

how many more days can I spend

this close, gazing over the edge

running a hand softly to ripple the

still destruction that could drown me—

 

to ask myself the question would be

like standing naked on a jagged rock shore,

waiting for the ocean spray,

or a tsunami.

 

© Alexandra Jema

a science lesson

prophase

you asked if he knew where I was as if the answer would change anything. we were getting high in your car and watching the sun set on a dirt road in the middle of somewhere. you might have still been seeing her, I can’t remember, but you told me later on that you thought about kissing me then. when you handed me the lighter your skin lingered on mine, a little too long. I was so high I didn’t notice I was shaking from the cold. you turned the heat on and I was still shivering.

 

metaphase

he always said I needed to change and I needed to try. what did that even mean anymore? I tried to be happy but I just got sadder and sadder. he said he wouldn’t open up until I was bleeding out on the pavement. and then he asked why I was so angry all of the time. I started pacing my room, wishing I would fade into the dim gaslight.

 

anaphase

we were lying in bed and he hadn’t finished and I was anxious to make things right but he rolled over like no thanks. I bit my tongue felt my cheeks get hot wanted nothing more than to run out of the house. I buried myself in the stale smell of semen on his blankets choking on my own shame. when we woke up I made him breakfast and he pretended it didn’t happened.

 

telophase

the heaving, through thick humidity and too many tears, in my high school parking lot of all places, like some sick fucking wannabe romantic joke. as if to say, we met here so we’re gonna die here. he slammed my car door and I started drowning. we were gonna try we were gonna try we were gonna try I was sobbing. if my heart wasn’t already broken that would have done it.

 

 

© Alexandra Jema