you’re probably an axe-murderer (but don’t worry, i am too)

“How are you?”
I hate those three words
Because you don’t mean them when you ask.
It is a gateway, a bridge to something more
when it’s coming from your mouth.
Meant for an honest answer I have never said out loud
It is a dagger to my chest
It is the burning of a book
It is the emptiness
Of an unanswered howl
In the night
It is a trick of light and sound
Like the pain behind a hiss
Like your kiss on trembling lips
like your heart
And we both know that doesn’t exist.

“How are you?”
That’s nothing new.
From youth
I grew
Because of you
Into desperate Juliet trying to steal the poison from Romeo ‘s lips
And I’m the woman fading back into Nabokov’s nymphet
Clever and careless,
And stealing mothers red lipstick
I’ve always been and will be
The impulsive girl who sits on her hands to keep
From slitting her wrists
but you and I both know
I’ve never needed a weapon to
Kill myself with.

“How are you?”
Is the terrible sound that keeps me awake at. 5 a.m.
I have nightmares of you asking
To serve as an alarm where
Your kiss once had that job;
To introduce me to addiction
You first gave me the liquor from your lips and the smoke from your mouth before telling me
To steal my own whiskey and cigarettes
To fend for myself
As long as you allowed
And hasn’t that always been your way?
Give me a taste to hook me like the fish
And then cut the line with the hook still in my lip?
And leave me wandering aimlessly adrift wondering all the time, is it my fault you jumped ship?
Can you blame me for asking?
Can you tell me without sighing?
Do you remember what truth tastes like on your tongue?
Telling me you’re not a liar
by nature was a lie if you
Ever told one
Every time you touched me
Kissed me
Fucked me
Filled me
you were killing me
And still had the audacity
To label it “Healing”
Darling, when will I learn
That on your surgery table
I will always be dying?

“How are you?”
I lie and say I miss you
I lie because I want you
I lie and say I’m tired of fighting
I lie and say I’m done crying
I lie and say I want you
Because I want you to not suspect of what I aim to do
I want you so I can hurt you first
So I can slither my way into your home
So I can poison my lipstick and hide daggers in my dress
Because while capable of living and of loving
I want to hurt you
And I want you to not see it coming

“How are you?”
“Why are you asking me?”
Because I can’t tell,
Your eyes are hard and your jaw curves differently
Your thoughts aren’t clearly written across your face like they used to be
And I serve with a smile behind an invisible leash
But underneath?
we see each other’s real faces
I see the disinterest in your eyes overtaking love
Two sets of lips spilling out lies
And you see my sanity decaying
our facades are disintegrating
And we’re looking more like Dorian Gray’s painting
Houdini himself couldn’t bring you back home to me
And I can’t go back to being simply sweet and naive
So is it any surprise that our goodbye was less a break-up and more an act of disappearing?

It’s been 2 years.
You don’t say “How are you?” When you sit down
And It makes you look rude
And no one here knows us from those other searching night owls in this city
But do they watch?
And can they see that
Even after an hour
you still refuse to speak?
That you’re staring me down to wait to see if I will crack?
But I’m older now
And I followed different tracks
Into different woods
The monster within lives for the experience I used to lack
And, lover, this is a game that two can play at.


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