trigonometry of the heart

oh love, tell me about the way it aches
seeing the sweat glitter on her collarbone, just out of reach
one perfect night when time stood still
and the sunset lit up her hair like stained glass

oh baby, tell me about the flowers unfurling in your chest
when she confessed her sins to you in the dark
all the years spent sobbing in front of altars fell off your shoulders
you asked God for an angel and here she is

oh sweetheart, tell me about the bitter taste of betrayal in your mouth
when you saw her draped over him
did your world fall apart?
did the apocalypse begin when you were writing her love notes?
how did you not notice your one good thing
slipping through your fingers like liquid gold?

oh honey, tell me, did anything hurt more
than when you kissed him while she watched?
three hearts shattering like a robin’s egg knocked out of its nest
sticks and stones, loving and losing
when playing with hearts, there are no winners


wrote this at 3 a.m. one morning when i was very caffeinated from drinking too much tea. it’s not drawn from my own experiences as much as most of my poems are, but there are still some lines that ring painfully true. love triangles are so much fun.

xo apollo

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your father | poem

i had to write a poem in my english class, and i liked it enough to post it here. it’s sort of an expansion of this piece of prose, salvador, late or early by sandra cisneros. it’s a pretty powerful short story with some really beautiful lines like “where homes are the color of bad weather” and “its geography of scars, its history of hurt.” i’d really recommend looking it up sometime.

yeah, so, the poem. i hope you guys like it. :)

| your father |

your father sits slumped in the dank den
hunched over in the cracked leather chair like a gnarled tree
the rancid beer bottles rattle together on the crumb-infested carpet
as he rocks sluggishly back and forth
your father hasn’t gone to work in four years

your mother creeps into the den, a wary ghost
she hovers by your father’s side
the bills, she starts hesitantly, wringing her trembling hands
your father bares his yellowed teeth
takes another swig of beer
his eyes never leave the television that drones on about car insurance
your mother apologizes as she trips over herself on her way out of the den

you wake up every morning to see your mother going to bed
she spends all night by the colicky baby’s side
nursing it
lulling it to sleep
telling it i love you so many times that she almost starts to believe it
the baby was an accident
your family can’t afford a fourth child
your mother does all the work for the baby by herself
because your lethargic father refuses to put down his beer bottles
and take care of it long enough for her to take a nap

your father sits slumped in the dank den
he will stay there, oblivious to the state of his family
as your mother wilts away
and the baby grows into a sullen toddler
and your younger brothers repeat a grade
because no one at home helps them with their schoolwork
and you faint everyday and your hair begins to fall out
because you make sure everyone in your family eats before you do
and there’s not enough food left for you

your father opens another bottle of beer

xo apollo

you flirt too much for someone who doesn’t love me

i wanna be yours

i would wear my heart on my sleeve
if it were not in pieces
i would hold your heart in my hands
if it were not black and white
can we forget that you curled up beside me
underneath a floral blanket
and i couldn’t hold you in my arms

you kissed my cheek as a goodbye
it was tender and blush pink
you must have practiced on the mirror

i swayed and kissed back
but it was sloppy, nervous, shy
i was inexperienced then
now the chapstick stains on
my bathroom mirror match yours

i hope i get another chance
to kiss you before you go
this time, you will be the one
whose fingers trace their flushed skin
every morning when you wake up alone

xo apollo

greenhouse

when i was a child, my family would drive down the gravel road to the greenhouse at the start of every summer. stepping inside the tent was like stumbling upon my own narnia, where it’s always june instead of perpetually winter. the perfume of so many flowers mingled together in the humid air. puddles on the floor reflected back the rainbow of blooms. bugs flitted from plant to plant. the atmosphere made it easy to pretend that i was the goddess demeter and the growing beauty all around me was my own handiwork.

my father would tell my brother and i that we could each pick one plant to bring home. my brother always chose something spiky and blossom-less, such as a serrated-edged, deep purple persian shield or a dark succulent. time after time, i was drawn to the romantic array of cherry, fuchsia, punch-pink, and candy cane geraniums. i always bought one and my brother always got a plant as sharp as his personality. some things are as predictable as the sunrise, and our greenhouse habits are no exception.

when my brother and i placed our special flowers on the counter beside my dad’s box of purchases, the worker would adjust her sin sifter and let us pick out a free marigold. there was a box of fiery blooms in the windowsill, straining for the sun. my brother would claim an orange one and i would choose yellow, and we would hold them in our laps on the ride home and plant them side by side in the yard.

my brother doesn’t care for flowers anymore. our family goes to the greenhouse without him, and i’m allowed as many plants as i would like. the woman behind the counter no longer offers me a marigold.

if we went early enough in the summer, there would be a cage around the back of the greenhouse where they kept easter bunnies. i cupped them in my hands one by one, trembling pompoms with a heartbeat, watching their bubblegum noses twitch and their fur flit around in the breeze. i begged my parents for one — promised that i would make its life heaven on earth, read every book about taking care of rabbits that i could get my hands on — but they never agreed. it’s too much responsibility for you, they said. the cats wouldn’t like them. bunnies are mean, anyway. so i never got a rabbit, and at some point, they got rid of the cages and i never held another easter bunny.

a year or two ago, i went on a walk one dusty, golden evening, and my feet led me down the gravel road to the greenhouse. i paused by the sign announcing the valley’s favorite greenhouse and stared out across the soy fields. birds rustled and sang from the crops and danced duets in the pale sky. the sun-warmed rocks beneath my bare, callused feet became too intense as i stood there, absorbing a picturesque summer sunset in the country, so i scooted off into the grass beside the road. wild strawberries poked up around my toes. a gemstone beetle crawled across a daisy as it continued its steady journey back home.

i have only known creekside junes and julys, spent hunting water snakes on slippery rocks, staining my lips and fingertips with blackberries, biking by myself through corn fields, burning marshmallows in the backyard while watching a shooting star overhead. the ache of every perfect summer i will never experience is eating me alive.

xo apollo

end of may or early june

there are days when i am bursting at the seams with light
i have daises in my hair and a love song on my lips
my forearms face the sun
i am lovely and so is the world
i believe i could live in the color yellow

and there are days when i am the static on the radio
i am lying on the floor of my room with the blinds closed
my mind is drifting
you could press your lips against mine for the first time
and i would not unbury myself to murmur i love you back
time has stopped in my suburban tomb and in my heart
i am frozen, a cold metal frame of a human
the world keeps moving on without me in it
i know because i can watch the shades of sunsets drip down my wall
and because the knocks on the door have stopped

but i will come back someday, maybe tomorrow
and i will sing my love songs with more passion than before
now i know what it is like to be alone and forgotten on the floor
and i do not want you to feel that way, too
it is not your fault that i disappear from time to time
and i’m sorry that you can’t keep me here
no matter how hard you try
just sing with me, please
so i can bottle up this love and drink that instead of poison

xo apollo

letter to a lover

i want someone to tell stories to. i want to walk nowhere in particular while holding hands, and i want to point things out and say what they make me think of. i want to talk to someone about why missing posters and sky blue make me cry. it feels like when you’ve been hurt and you have a band-aid and you’re waiting for someone to say what happened? i want someone to notice when my eyes tear up, when i flinch, when i tremble. i want someone to pay attention to the song i’m singing to myself and ask what it means to me. i want someone to know and understand me and not hate it. and i know that is too much to ask for.


happy valentine’s day! <3

the only date i have today is with my school’s guidance counselor. i have to register for next year’s classes and i have no clue which ones i want to take. i’d like to do a more advanced art class and band/percussion, but theatre also sounds fun.

i’m going on a youth retreat this weekend. i went last year, too, with my pal n (although i don’t think he’s coming this time). the lodge we’ll be staying at is up in the mountains, and there’s a forest, stream, and i think a meadow area as well. i’ll be bringing my camera, and if the retreat is as unstructured as last year, i’ll have plenty of time to take pictures.

last thing: my brother is in his school’s production of the sound of music. he somehow convinced the director to let him do a roundoff back tuck in one scene. the first performance is tomorrow and i think i’ll give him some fake flowers that i found in the attic.

xo apollo