Volume 18 – T Alexandra Mushinski

on the floor

~Alexandra Mushinski

i remember the ache in my chest when you yelled at me the first time

                                                   momentary closure of any potential for

                                                   love in retribution

                      maybe my habits of risky behavior were too much

i didnt feel scared so why should i stop?
if i get hurt so what?


i struggle to feel the ways in which love equates to personal

                                             i know the spaces in between so intimately

fear of becoming
what made me
has made me
into something quite the same

anger is what i fear most                               how could i not tear
                                                                                                   apart at its
                                                                                                   discovery in my
sometimes i want to escape                                      my body
in the worst moments i have

floating on the horizon of my own vision
looking down at my cold stiff frame

                                                                             reminds me of closing out the
                                                                  meat locker in the back of the
                                                                  midnight diner

everything looks scary frozen
suspended in air too cold for my lungs

                                        takes a while to come back

                                to fall down into the flesh and bone of reality

                      crashing through my sharp distended ribs into my soft

the sting of landing wells into my sinuses and tear ducts and knocks

                                     me flat back on the floor

                                                         now i know how to jump up when i fall
i used to blame myself

lessons                 learned
                                                                                                      the time i saw
                                                                                           you for the first

                                          after knowing you for years

having held you too            close                  to realize
                                                                                    i’d never seen your face
lessons                 learned

                                                                                    eviscerating my heart did
                                                                         not make it more real

                                               sacrifice is not a condition of love

                                                       to be
i thought if i put myself last somebody would see
                                                                     in spite of my self depicted

i wanted so badly
                             to be                              wanted
that i stopped wanting myself 

                                                 i can’t hold it against
a stranger
to me now and always

                                                                                       it hurts as much to

                                                                                                                   a vessel

                                                                         a memory of the furthest i’ve
                                                                ever gone

                                              i thought i was invincible after you

six months
after i’d left                                                                                        through
the city
                                                                                     coming down

                         the buildings all turned see through

invisible walls

invisible lines

invisible boundaries

                                      pass right through the curtain

so unseen
                   i wanted to scream    from the treetops
                                                          lay myself bare in the streets

                                                                             fell heavy like a punch in
                                                                             the gut

lessons                 learned

                    you don’t have to be               on the edge of a cliff

                                                                                           to be loved

                             ● not all questions are alarm bells

                                      ● not all lines were drawn straight

used to
to practice

an earring abandoned in the staff parking lot

                     a bag forgotten in the corner of the third floor studio

a shirt left in an old friends bathroom
regret      not holding on     to what i found

                                                                                   in their place
                                                        of the pajama top you let me borrow
                                                        on my way home

             how i wish

                          i’d held you more gently

i          don’t                       want              to           want                   so    much
that              i             forget           to       see    what’s              in front of

                                                                                                                 i’m tired
                                                                                                        of finding
                                                                                                        comfort longing
                                                                                                        from an arm’s
                               in not knowing
                                                               to reach out

a little further

easier to convince myself of false beauty with an empty promise

                                                 to hold on to

                  does love have to look beautiful to be true?

               awkwardness of vulnerability

tilts in my solar plexus

                                                                              throws off my balance

             long to stand                                                                           on both feet

                                  stay still in place
                                  beside someone

fear of misunderstanding

           frays my edges
like a sewn on shadow

         how could you know me if you’ve never heard me speak?

                                                                          used to think people could feel
                                                               what i was thinking

spent so long wanting a different life

i stopped selling my own

                                                                                                                 used to be
                                                                                                       shy now i’m
                                                                                                       just choosy

strength in the autonomy

                  i’ve learned to love
                                                                                   my slowly aging body

my room looks different each morning at first glance

                                        the comfort in


i like it when my bed is made

my stuffed animals spooning in a line

                                                                                   i like it when my clothes
                                                                                              makeup compacts
                                                                                           coat the carpet floor

                                             i like how your
                                             picture still hangs on
                                             my wall in the same spot
                                             its stayed in for years

                  i’m trying to be kinder to the people that surround me

                                  i’m trying to be kinder to myself