← back

i can do words when i try

i am the spider in the corner of your room
what did i do wrong?
we haven’t even spoken a word to each other
although it’s true i don’t speak your language
but you want to kill me
is it just because i have more legs than you? more eyes?
is it that im small and you know you could crush me?
i understand that im different
i understand different can be scary
but you really dont know anything about me
and you don’t want to learn
you’re comfortable in your world of snap judgments
your world where you are right
so i must be wrong.
i’ve learned to live with my reputation
i’ve evolved the speed and wits with which to dodge what you throw at me.
i’ve developed the ability to block out your world
because i know ill never be able to join it,
your world effortlessly full of color and light and friends
i focus on my small corner
the one that you’ve confined me to
i weave my web
in hopes of adding something exciting
in hopes that someone, anyone will notice
that im here
that im alive
that maybe, i matter
that maybe, your hatred is unfounded
that maybe, i even deserve
to be loved
that maybe, i could be more than just the spider
in the corner of your room

my name is [redacted]
which is an anagram of
and im not sure what that means
but it reminds me of how people say
i ask too many questions

someday im going to be a wildlife biologist
and a photographer
and a mathematician
and an author
and a linguist
and a musician
and an actress
and a mother
and happy
but first i need to finish high school

animals seem to like me
which is good
because people don’t
i like people well enough
i like to feed off their energy
i like talking to them
but i don’t know how to do it right
i always do something wrong
what it is, i never know
so i sit alone at lunch
with the animals
inside of my head

i have autism
and ocd
and adhd
and anxiety
and depression
which my doctor says is in remission
but that doesn’t mean i don’t feel it in the back of my skull
for any insecurity
any mistake
any misfortune
any opportunity
for it to break down the defenses i’ve built out of coping mechanisms and medication

im not afraid of heights
i love the breeze at the top of tall trees
im not afraid of spiders
the shiny eyes and fuzzy legs are adorable
im not afraid of small spaces
they makes me feel safe
im afraid of love
because of what happens when it ends
because what if it never feels like that again

and who would love me anyway
people say im pretty
until they get a glimpse inside

inside is a pastel wonderland made of cotton candy and flower fields
littered with crossed out names and shattered picture frames
and the longer i let them look the more the milkshake rain falling from the sky
turns to teardrops
turns to blood

but im ok
im fine
i swear i’m not gaslighting myself
i know i have so much to be grateful for
i know someday i’ll find everything im looking for
i know that since i’ve come this far
there’s no reason i can’t push through whatever life hurls my way next
because my name is [redacted]
which is an anagram of
and im pretty sure that means
that there’s an eagle inside of my soul
and no matter how much weight is put on its wings
it will never cease to soar

every so often
inside of my heart
something appears
a sore spot on my soul
a sudden pang of pain
from a time that feels so recent but i know
it was eternities ago

and i cry
not because of any overwhelming sadness
no i cry
with the realization
of how the shattered dreams that once reflected my tear-stained face
are slowly mending—
no! they’re being replaced
new experiences and emotions
emerge from the darkness like
so many stars in the blackest night

and someday soon the sun will dawn
and i’ll see the love inside that was there all along
and i’ll be more than the fly on the wall
i’ll be a bird
and i’ll fly and i’ll soar
even higher than before
and if i get too close to the sun once more
i won’t lose sight of the stars and their light

because i know how to get back up
after being broken
beaten and battered and bruised beyond hope and
thats where i was wrong
because there’s no such thing as “beyond hope”
or beyond joy
or beyond love
there is only giving up

and when you surrender to the shadows you are only dragged deeper
but i’ve learned that
my struggles reveal my strength
my pain reveals my pride
my brokenness reveals my beauty
and those same old scars on this worn-out heart are now the cracks in the sidewalk from which new life can sprout

and im ready for it
im ready for hope to spread its graceful wings beneath me
im ready for joy to bring light and color to my barren sketch of a world
im ready for love to blossom anew in the garden ive been so carefully tending to ever since the last flowers were burned to a crisp

yes at long last it’s time
for this phoenix to rise
from the ashes and for her to take back her life

this feeling
is beyond hope

some people find someone they love and think
where have you been all this time
i don’t need to ask
you’ve been in my life for
im just wondering
why didn’t realize
that we could be something
until now

i think you feel it too
or at least i hope you do
every time i’m next to you
my soul swells and my heart radiates with brilliant hues of red and gold
so bright that you can probably see

your eyes
blue, green, gorgeous
the color of a shallow sea
yet i get lost deep inside them
and they set fire to my heart

i thought i was numb
dead and cold to the world of love
i thought i would never feel this again
i thought there was no one else left
why did i never think of you

you, who possesses whatever binding power my heart needs to become whole again
whole for real
beyond the facade of “healed” i’ve taken way too much time to slap together out of band aids and copper wire and prescriptions
now you’re becoming the only drug i need

you, who makes me feel alive by just
walking next to me
even if you had to catch up to me first
caring about what i have to say
even if you didn’t catch it the first three times
complimenting my poetry
i bet you’d like this one too
but you don’t get to read it
not yet

and you’re funny
and you’re sweet
and you’re smart
and you’re patient
and im sure you have flaws
cracks and bumps in your surface
but i can’t see them
because i’m thinking about how smooth
your hand would be to hold

so many tiny moments
that probably mean nothing to you
replay in my head
where i subject them to endless scrutiny
i know im looking too far into
the way you tilt your body when we sit together
the way you glanced at me and smiled that once
the way you talk about your interests to me and let me talk about mine
the way you laugh when my jokes aren’t that funny
the way you’ve stopped flinching away when i reach out to touch you
someday i’ll reach out with my heart

god i wish i could know
what it’s like to hold you
you just look like you give great hugs
you certainly did in my dream last night
and in my dreams of the future
i dare you to prove it

Every lonely night
I look to the stars for guidance
As i always have
But this time something is different
Something is wrong
The brightest, most radiant star of them all
Has flickered out
From the center of my favorite constellation

I keep stupidly searching the sky
Stars don't just vanish, i'm losing my mind
But no matter how many times i try
That dark empty wound is all i can find
Now all the other stars seem to swirl around
Blur together
The cosmos themselves are confounded
Or maybe it's just the tears in my eyes

and you don't even realize
How the beautiful light of your voice and your smile
Was the very warmth of my day
And the comfort i clung to in the cold of the night

You gave me a purpose
Clearer than ive ever known
Something to wish for
Something to work for
Something i thought was attainable
But the stars are suspended
Out of reach for a reason

At what cost
Now i'm lost
On a flimsy raft
In the middle of a deep dark ocean
I had my heart set on a destination that's been wiped off the map
Where do i turn now
Or do i stay in this spot and let myself sink
Where is the bottom
My emotions and navigational systems
Hopelessly scrambled
Tumbled through the torrent
see , i had my compass tuned to you
Your magnetic charm made a perfect magnetic north
I was always pulled to you
My days were planned around you
And i thought you felt it too
But opposites attract
And now i see
Your intentions were the opposite of mine
It was nothing but a lie
And i still don't know why
But you-

The whirlpool churns and spirals
The compass spins in frantic circles
Searching for a way out
It finds none
Because it can't find you
Youre out there somewhere i know you are
Watching me drowning from afar
What happened to all your patience and care
You act like i was never there
How is it that even as you leave me for dead
There's a not-so-little voice inside of my head
That wants to believe
That the star will return
That my beacon will blink back
Even brighter and more brilliant
And bring a dawn to the eternal night
Because every star is a distant sunrise

Turns out the stars can shift in the sky
Turns out the poles of the earth
Sometimes reverse
Turns out the people i love always leave eventually
Turns out ive never quite been alright