a psalm for the day you leave him

dear god, i ruin every pure thing i touch
i took something young and tender as a peach bud in spring
and made its hands and teeth yearn for flesh
almost kissing, almost killing

i was as white as the pages of my mother’s bible
before he showed up
now i only pray to the satin-clad goddesses on the dance floor
and communion means french kissing under streetlights

being loved is like cupping fresh summer berries in your palm
it’s warm and it tastes sweet but when you hold on too tight, it bursts
and your skin, once so clean, is stained with juice like blood that never washes off

father, forgive me, i should have stayed in heaven
you can love a mortal, but you’ll have to go to hell to keep them
and is it worth it, for one night of peace? well —
i’ll tell you when the sun rises

xo apollo

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a love letter for the boy with the birdsong laugh

dear scout,

one day, my friend asked me what i looked for in a person. i considered the question and spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what someone would have to be like to make me love them forever. in the end, i simply came up with a list of things that describe you:

– you were kind to me when i so desperately needed it
– you understood my anxiety without me having to say a word
– you calmed me down just by being near
– you were smarter than me, which was new
– you never mentioned when i didn’t eat, but you always had chocolate chip cookies in your backpack for when i needed them
– you knew what my wounds were from and didn’t look at me any differently
– my favorite thing about you was that when you laughed, it sounded like birdsong

i lived with you for only two weeks during the worst summer of my life, but it was enough. i have never shown my heart to someone so quickly. all the afternoons spent wandering through the woods, lying on the sun-warmed brick plaza while watching the stars, sitting on the porch and revealing one puzzle piece of our lives at a time — i will cherish them forever.

i fell in love in the forest. now summer is gone and so are you.

you should know, i kept all the gifts you gave me. the leather bracelet dyed red as blood, the rocket with remnants of fourth of july glitter stuck to the inside, the handmade keychain made of twisted purple, blue, and red plastic strands; and so, so much hope.

skeleton // the front bottoms

when i hear your name, there are two memories that come to mind immediately. there was the night when you took my anxiety from an eight to a five just by sitting next to me and pressing your scraped up leg against my trembling one, and the evening when the grass around us turned slick and crimson with blood in an instant. there was a knife glinting in the twilight before your cursing filled the heavy, humid air.

i never told you, but that night you spent in the hospital after passing out in your own blood, i didn’t sleep at all. i sat on a picnic table in the dark and cried like it was all my fault while the blood dried on my skin and in my mouth and on the concrete at my feet. no matter how long i showered, i could not wash off the blood, or the guilt.

whenever someone put their arm around me or offered a tissue, i just shook harder and choked out a sob about how none of this would have happened if it weren’t for me. we would be sitting by the lake while the sun set; instead, i was so anxious that i threw up my salad, and you were forcing down pills while a doctor slipped a needle through your slit skin.

shut up and dance // walk the moon

tovah and candy gathered me on their cabin’s moss-covered porch after your oldest brother drove you to the hospital. they’d known you for years, they told me, and the boys in your family do dumb things when they’re trying to get a girl’s attention. sometimes that means seeing how many barbecue sandwiches you can eat in one night (your record was eight). other times it means doing a knife trick while walking and cutting your hand in two places. it’s not your fault, they told me. he just likes you, and he’s clumsy, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it.

but, i think. but, if you hadn’t asked me to walk down to the lake with you before everyone else got there, and if i hadn’t agreed, you never would have had your knife out in order to show off. if only i had said no, you would be ok.

i remember how frustrated you were when you got back from the hospital with stitches in your knuckle, glue on the severed tip of your thumb, and a clunky cast on your finger. you were late to breakfast all week because you couldn’t put on your glasses yourself, or lace up your hiking boots. i saw you shake with anger after the twentieth camper asked what you did to your hand.

that’s why i sliced open my palm one morning and soaked my half-eaten apple with blood: so people would leave you alone. they stopped staring at your cast, switching to cradling my hand and running gentle fingers over the bandage.

i still have scars on my palm from that day. if i see you again (and i pray that i will), i know you will have a deep cicatrix on your skin as well. i wonder if you think of me when the phantom pains make it ache.

scout, i know i never loved you. but, listen — i could have. oh god, i could have, and when the seasons change, i hope you come back into my life with the new summer. i left you last july without a kiss or even a goodbye, and when i lie awake at night, i think of what words i could have used to make you understand how i felt about you: the feeling of almost.

i know that i don’t know you that well, but i know i’ve been missing you like hell. (i know // motherfolk)


i wrote this in class when i couldn’t concentrate on anything else. a boy who loves me was reading over my shoulder, and now when my friends laugh, i see him tilt his head and listen for the one who sounds like a bird singing to the sun at dawn.

(unfortunately, scout doesn’t live here. which is a shame, because he flirts by sharing pictures of his cat, mr. kitty.)

xo apollo

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

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

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

aphrodite

blossoms from emily’s tree.

a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. (romeo and juliet)

roses in pennsylvania.

i’ll send you the sunset i love the most. (tokyo // owl city)

roses at a downtown café.

i am beginning to think
that i am a liar
i can’t open my mouth
without crooked words tumbling
over crooked teeth
like when i shrugged and said
we’re kids
we can’t love each other yet
and i felt aphrodite
dewy rose petals caught in her
dark dripping curls
twist her bruised lips in sorrow
because what is young love
but praying you’ll make it
while reaching for sweaty
shaky hands in the dusk

xo apollo