Her fingers are feathers,
Lithe and delicate
As they hover over the brushstrokes of Monet,
Drawn to pigment like a moth to the flame.
His eyes are the ravenous mouths of predators
Who have not eaten for days.
They swallow words, phrases, entire books whole
And yet the belly within is empty forevermore.
She holds a brush just as carefully as she probes its past.
She is the Da Vinci
The world doesn’t know,
But one day will.
The canvas is herself,
The brush is her gold,
And the acrylic is the diamond
That adorns her neck.
She scratches leafed paper
With the tip of graphite
When the whiteboard is full of equations
That she knows she should be replicating,
But across the room whispers roll like waves
And crash upon her ears,
The words as cold and harsh as the waters of the Atlantic.
So she focuses on the manner
That light meets and departs
The beautiful matter of this world
He is always in the same place.
The library beats
Like a ceaseless heart,
Propelling lifeblood into his helpless husk
That would wane and flicker without its generous gift.
Here he is home
In the place where impossibility does not exist
And reality is unrealistic.
When the doors to his heart are sealed
He finds his way to a place
Where his father’s eyes bid forever farewell
And his mother couldn’t
Even say “hello”
If she so desired to.
His eyes avoid the blooming
Of blue, purple, red,
And he folds into himself
In the overlooked darkness within decaying walls.
When she arrives home she paints once again
Except her body is the canvas
And her only paint is red.
This new brush is silver
And dances with the light.
Grace is foreign to the brush that traces jagged lines.
An instrument of self-destruction
The inflictor of a drugless rush.
Words ground to dust,
White ashes that devour
His very being
Claiming him for its own
With the terrible power one desperate man
Granted it in an abandoned shack.
And though it eats him
He would rather remain trapped
In this deceptive high
Than feel the sharp pain of skin on skin,
Or see the blood from his mother’s mouth
One more time.
The pain is not enough,
The clouds within her mind
The thoughts that writhe within her mind.
She is alone,
Fear has chased loved ones away
And injured the bodies of others.
Yet the assaults continue,
A ceaseless foray of bullets and missiles and nukes.
She does not know how she possibly still stands
In the midst of this
But she does know that she
Is able to grit her teeth
And swallow back
Beneath the mattress of her parents’ bedroom
Her hands find the cold metal
She barely manages to scribble
“I love you”
Amidst the storm that wracks her body
As she cries,
Lifting her hand
And pressing metal to her temple
Seemed like it would have been
And easy task,
But a war rages from within
That turns those few pounds
Into a few tons
And it is a struggle just to raise
But she does,
And as she pulls her index finger
At the very last moment
And a will to live
Rush through her,
Obliterated instantly by the blinding light of
His door bursts open
And light explodes through the threshold,
Blinding to his eyes
By the chemicals
He injected into his own veins.
It is his father,
His eyes bloodshot
And the unmistakable reek of alcohol
Surrounding him like an alarm.
Run it says,
Run far away from here.
But he is trapped,
Curled in the corner between
His bed and his nightstand,
A plastic bag full of
Settled on his lap.
His father’s eyes settle
On the lab-born chemicals
He learns that the smell of rage
Is more pungent
Than two six packs of beer.
He knows this is it.
He won’t have to suffer the pain of
Bruises and broken bones
For he’s done it.
He’s escaped this hell
Time and time again
And now he’s been caught,
Defying his father’s law.
And all he thinks about
As those thick legs lumber towards him
Is the face of his only friend
Who offered to him his hand
Again and again
And yet he always batted it away,
For the hands of his
Extended beyond the reaches of
With a fist flying towards his temple,
There is no escape,