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The Runaway

some days i want to stuff
my heart in a jar and run
away somewhere i can sing
badly in the early morning, take
hours for showers and break plates
just to see how they crack. i want
to write poetry about it in loud
letters on the walls because now
i'm just sleep-talking and it isn't
nearly so nice to wake up to
a verse of drool at 6 a.m. realizing
the warmth isn't his hand but
my fist curled on itself. it's colorless
down here like the pits of the ocean,
and i am the shark: if i stop swimming,
i will die. so i keep racing from the ghost
of the sunset haunting my rearview
mirror, turn&turn&turn until
i've memorized how to twist
the steering wheel around my block and
i'm one of a thousand moons orbiting
the city; eventually i'll come crashing
home. i hope that when i do
i'll fall screaming from the sky with fire
streaming from my hands. but i'm a dreamer:
i was never up there with the stars, only gazing.
and mirror mirror won't you tell me
what i am because i think i'm pretty
plain and brilliant in a way that smushes
common sense, i think that he could
love me if he would, i think i put
the hopeless in romantic and instead
of counting off the petals—
he loves me, he loves me not
—i strung the flowers into
a dream-catcher so i could snare
bits of him to hold onto, to pretend
he's the one holding me to keep away
the cold whispering:
i want to make you mine, make you mine
because when i stop running toward
the horizon my blood will stop pumping and
my heart will fall silent (but when i reach it,
i'll tumble off the edge of the earth and burst
into a stardust sonata without a pulse)
so i'm running in place. but sometimes,
i want to be brave the way
young is in the summer when it's feverish and
let go of the chains i forged around the sun so
i can fall backwards through dawn into
midnight where he's waiting because
these lovely afternoons are smudging as
i press them with my thumbs and autumn
is beginning to taste bland. i want to wake up again
after twenty years of snow have melted into
something new and run away somewhere i haven't seen.




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