A Brief Summary of Everywhere We’ve Been

Mani —

hey, honey.

When I found out that you had gone, I was so heartbroken that I made grief my permanent address. I changed the pronunciation of my name, shifting and stirring the letters just to hear your whisper underneath. My palms outward, I perched on the stoop of my sadness, a mailbox full of good intentions, and all I could do is watch the clouds for you.

Every sunrise is slightly bitter without you – like black coffee, but without the warmth. It still stings my throat when I breathe in too deeply.

This time last year I didn’t know. I had no idea. You sent me a poem the night before and I meant to read it. I promise I did read it. But I didn’t answer fast enough.

I cut six inches off my hair when I found out you had died. It was the only logical move at the time, the cleanest way to advertise my new address: heartbreaking, earth-ending sadness, the type that swallows entire families during hurricane season.

You said we were going to get better, and I believed you. But then you left me here and now I’m not sure better will ever come the way we intended – which is to say, there will never be a better that is good enough because we won’t get to share it.

Sometimes I mix your words with mine. I can’t remember which one of us said we could feel the other’s heart in those quiet moments. You told me I’d like the storms down in Durango, how the thunder ricochets off the stone-faced mountains – but I have grown too familiar with the emptiness of my chest, the way your name roars in its hollows.

Mah-nee. Mani. My little star child.

I’m going to commit you to my skin, fresh ink, your words a promise that I will never break. I will carry you into every success, every heartbreak, every fresh day. In that way, my love, you will breathe again.

Forever yours,




At Risk Eel

When I was younger, I was really into word scrambles and it broke my heart that my first name could be rearranged to spell ‘at risk.’ Yeah yeah, I’m too sensitive but that same heart was mended when I realized that, using my first and middle name, I could spell ‘at risk EEL’ and the image made me laugh out loud.

I didn’t make any plans for the future because it seemed so impossible, but now I’m here and I still catch myself thinking I’m 17. I hate when people ask how old I am because sometimes I can’t remember. There are moments that exist outside of time and I’m not sure if I should be held accountable for them. A man once told me that time wasn’t real, that every scene in our memory was constantly looping, but he wouldn’t mind being stuck in forever with me – and that’s when I found out it was a date, and also to never date a writer because we say dumb shit like that.


I haven’t written any good poetry in a month, almost to the day, because the words are cluttered under the pictures on my dresser. Can we talk about pictures for a second? Because I didn’t understand the dimensions of my body until I had captured them on digital film, examined them in the dusty light of my childhood bedroom. I still get lost sometimes – I send my best friends furious snaps, asking for confirmation that MY FACE IS STILL MY FACE/DO I LOOK LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME. And they are kind, and they are gentle, and they identify the face poking out from my neck.

genuinely bewildered.

I wish I could publish more of the pictures I’ve taken of myself. I look like cream, dotted with the occasional freckle. It’s the oddest thing. I only understand what I look like when I see it on my phone screen – even then, I’m baffled by the discrepancy between how men and women interact with the space I occupy. Other genders either don’t find me as interesting or are too polite to say so, so I’m stuck with the two best known, and each of them treats me differently, and this AT RISK EEL is made ever the more confused.


I’ve spent the past week scooping broken expectations from my bedroom floor. They stick to the palms of my hand like jelly, almost immovable in their viscosity, until I am reminded how dangerous it is to see people as anything other than they are.

So it goes.

This week, I’ve leaned so heavily on my friends that if they were lesser people, they might have broken. I am consistently amazed that they hear me every time, through every pain, and still manage to love me at the end of the day. I often say I’ve stumbled ass-backward into the most beautiful friendships – and it’s more true than I could ever explain.

Today’s post is for the people who didn’t have to choose me, but decided to anyway. They have made it possible to breathe every single time. They root for me, support me, challenge me, inspire me, teach me. My friends verify the validity of my feelings and they ask me how I will move forward. There is no greater group of people on Earth.

Here’s to my Babes, to the beautiful people who swept my heart off their doorstops and let me inside.

To the Power Couple who have known me since I was 13 and edgeless, who have never once stopped loving me even though I constantly fall asleep on their sofa, who check in again and again to make sure I’m okay. Thank you for offering me a place to sleep, for laughing at my crudest jokes, for letting me cry endlessly and without judgment. Thank you for being some of the funniest, most loving people I know. And thank you for reminding me to be gentle with myself, especially when I’m struggling. I can’t believe I got so lucky.

To the Butter Cats who took my life by storm and haven’t stopped yet – thank you for showing me new parts of town, thank you for every adventure (even the ones where we forget our shoes), thank you for listening and signing and reminding me that there is more than one way out of any problem. Thank you for letting me tell you cringey stories a little too loudly. Thank you for mashed potatoes and waffles and showing you care every single time I reach out to you.

To my California Dreamer whose place in my life started with an incredible fashion choice – thank you for picking up the phone every time I call. Thank you for believing me, for hearing the good and the bad and somehow deciding I was still worth the hassle. Thank you for your relentless love, for the manifestation of your very being, for elephants and snails and cartoon hearts. Thank you for calling out every shitty behavior, for always teaching me something new, for your incredible taste in both media and other human beings alike. Thank you for choosing me to be a part of your world.

To my boo who calls at 6AM and doesn’t mind the sleep dripping from my voice – who held me on one of the worst nights of my life and made a joke so terrible that I forgot I was sad for a moment, for my singalong partner,  for the man who has never hit on me but still thinks my ass looks great in leather pants – thank you. Your advice is honest, yet kind and I always feel better after we speak. Your love is like coffee: strong, warm, and energizing. I am so grateful that the world can spin around us and yet we always find our way back to center. Thank you for  knowing when to coddle me and when to tell me to kick ass.

To my Moon and Sun, who are always a text away – thank you. Holy shit, thank you so much. When I first met you, I was shattered. Neither of you gave up on me. Instead we kept talking, kept laughing, kept fighting. Never in my life have I been so thankful for the internet as I am with you two. The odds of us finding each other were near impossible… and yet! And yet here we are, years later, your voices dormant in my throat so every time I speak like you, my heart jumps a little. Thank you for bearing every hurt long before I could share it with the world. Thank you for hearing the stories, for picking the glass from my skin, for offering me your homes and your grandparents and your cities.

To my other half, the one who has known me since I was 5, who has watched me break out of my skin more times than I can count. I don’t know if you’ll find a way to read this, but thank you for loving me at my most unlovable. I will never forget how you jumped in your car and drove two hours to see me after I called you. I wept into the phone as you sped to my apartment, our hearts beating to the same rhythm, and I realized that you were my sister just as much as any blood relative. There is always, always going to be a part of you in me. It makes me stronger than I ever imagined.

To the man I miss – I’m here.

and to Mani, to the star of my heart: I would give up every written word to have you back.

To My Family Who’s Still Voting Trump

It is time we had a chat.

This election is no longer about politics – it is disturbingly personal as we watch a rape-supporting bully claw his way toward the Oval Office.

Trump reminds me of Niko.

You should know who Niko is, right? You’re my family. You know he’s the man who pinned me to his bed when I was 18 years old, who asked me to stay after he finished, who drove past my dorm multiple times in the weeks after as I ignored his countless messages? I still have nightmares about him –  I still wake up crying.

Trump is Niko on a grand stage. I saw a post comparing Trump’s comments about grabbing a woman’s pussy to the Fifty Shades series – and I was disgusted. Absolutely, completely horrified. Fifty Shades is terrible, yes, and it is problematic in terms of BDSM and consent but to set the Republican nominee’s hateful, misogynistic talk of rape and compare it to a fictional narrative?

And make no mistake – he is talking about rape. When someone holds power over another person and the victim feels like they can’t say no, that’s rape. Condoning Trump’s comments is condoning rape. It’s condoning Niko and his hands on every inch of my skin.

Niko told me women deserved to be preyed upon and, just like Trump, he had more money and power than I did. He decided he could do whatever he wanted to me, so he did. And now you want to put a rapist in the White House because, like you said, if women are willing to buy Fifty Shades of Grey, how can we be horrified when a presidential candidate says he’s entitled to rape us?

Following that logic, what did I do to deserve to be assaulted? What book did I read, what website did I visit, that labeled me as ‘rape-able?’ No, really. Feel free to get back to me on that.

I wish you could understand how terrifying this is. To hear your family agree with – and applaud! – a man who sounds eerily close to a rapist. And yes, the only people who are comfortable making ‘jokes’ about rape have either considered or committed rape.

When you justify Trump’s comments, you are justifying Niko’s actions. You are telling me that you do not care about survivors of assault, that you don’t care about me – and you’re telling me you want to give Trump the power to hurt more women. Because, when you think about it, there’s no more powerful position in government than that of the President… and if Trump is comfortable raping women while he’s a floundering businessman, what exactly do you think is going to happen when he’s the leader of the free world?

On election day, you will be asked to make a choice. I would like to remind you who you’re voting against when you vote Trump. You are voting against survivors of assault. You are voting against people with PTSD. You are voting against every minority. You are voting against people with disabilities. You are voting against the LGBT community.

You are voting against me, as a survivor of assault, as a person with PTSD, as a disabled woman. You are voting against my sister and her girlfriend. You are actively voting against your family, your flesh and blood, and for what?

Why would you want to hurt us this way?



I think of you
as my fingers peel
back thick skin

the fruit, so cold,
numbs my touch
the air is electric
alive with possibility

as my teeth tear
into you
and juice flows over
my peony tongue

I can’t tell
if I feel guilty
or refreshed.



(I am too sick and too sad to share anything new this week. October is fast becoming unbearable. Everything reminds me of Mani and my heart feels selfish. I miss her, and him, and feeling complete.)