It took me so long to realize that not everything
that was built to bend has also been built
to break, that the best things withstand
the tests we flesh out in our minds, that
there is patience and kindness and gentleness,
light, wafting down from the ceiling
if I can only remember to look up, so
from now on when my voice hits that icy note 
you know all too well, remind me to step 
outside of my sullen and sour, zip my jacket up 
to hide the threat of a frown and keep walking
until I turn the corner and see a lamp post,
a vending machine, a diner buzzing at 3 AM,
 a bus stop, a waiting car, your face etched
with worry, relief. I am probably still going 
to forget sometimes. Sorry about that—you know 
how hard I try. But at least my limbs will always
have it in them to reach out to where you are,
and you will never have to go too far
to find the warmth I’ve been saving for you.

nowhere but home

Under tender white sheets crouching
from our hiding position, let me tell you
there is no need to be afraid.
You’re only one dress away from this town
of all the questions I’ve built
answers to, a place where the waiting
happens not in stoplights or queues
but every night when I set the table
for two, listening for the turning
of your key in the lock, the click, the door
swinging open like a page.
Eyes fill up when girls with flowers
in their hair walk in, and little boys in vests
and shoes shined to perfection, and I
will always meet you at the end of 
that aisle, knowing grace
follows the curve of your back, the soft
sighs you make in your sleep.
Under tender white sheets crouching
from our hiding position, let me
take your hand and lead you out to safety;
this is where we find our space.
You’re only one dress away from this town
and I have finally figured out 
that all signs point to yes, and all roads 
lead nowhere but home.

paper cuts

When you first met me, you said you liked my
feathery words and pillowy thoughts, the way
I maneuvered through days lightly, gently, careful
not to take too much, and I saw how this softness
fit into your world of loud music late at night and
laughter that lasts until morning and the heaviest
of footsteps, the heaviest of strokes, shading
outlines black until you bore holes through
the page, the way a sharp ray of sunlight pierces
through paper when you hold a magnifying glass
over it long enough. But now you have pointed
that magnifying glass at our story, and the plot
is full of holes. Character inconsistencies. Cuts
that shouldn’t have been allowed but were, or
should have but weren’t. Some days you roll up
your sleeve, show me your bruises, say they came
from me, hinting at the pebbles I keep in my
pocket and the taste of metal brewing under
my skin. And some days you want me to harden
my cotton-spun heart, toughen it up against
knives, claws, teeth, nails, sharp rays of sunlight,
anything that can tear it apart, and you want me
to stop acting like everything is such a big
fucking deal when it isn’t—not to you. But it is
to me. So I build a shell around my softest parts,
seal it with a clear coat of resolve. Drop one more
pebble into my pocket every night before I go
to bed, leave my corners untucked. Hide all the
pages. Make sure you can no longer close in on
my softness and use it as a weapon against me.


1. I’ve gotten used to sleeping
on one side of the bed, making
space for you, always, room
for your body to rest.

2. Sometimes we fall asleep
with our fingers intertwined,
and sometimes when I am alone
I wake up with my hands
clasped together, a reminder,
I guess, to hold on.

3. These walls know the sound
of your voice, your laughter
ringing through the midnight
stillness, as sharp and clear
as day, the stories you tell
no one else but me.

4. I find traces of your lips
on coffee cups, pillow cases,
the back of my head, warm
outlines I never have to wait
too long to fill.

5. For years I tried to learn how
to live by myself,
but you taught me the difference
between that and being able
to live with myself.


One day they will discover the shipwreck
of our love, expert hands sifting through
the debris of silent disappointments and
things that were not supposed to hurt, but
did. They will chip away at sealed doors,
futile attempts at trying to rouse what
once lorded above the waves, majestic
in all the moons it thought it had ahead.
We won’t know what they’re trying to
find. Neither will they. The flotsam
and jetsam will not make much sense
to them, pieces of wreckage that have
long lost any semblance of hope. And
when a lone sea creature hovers curiously
nearby, a question forming on its delicate
fins, they will know it is time to go, leave
all the cargo behind; to rise rise rise
until they break the sparkling surface,
gasping for air and life, buoyed by the
promise and warning that it almost
always takes an ocean to sink.

All text original work by Marla Miniano. Powered by Blogger.


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I write, edit, and produce books for a living. I also: take photos, attempt poetry, make travel plans, snore, do the dishes, daydream on the treadmill, and dress like a loose grandma. For feedback, questions, and invitations, email me at marlaminiano@gmail.com.