Christmas Shopping for Rebecca

If I could have
attached myself to Artemis’ chariot for you,
my angel,
I would have.

How I yearn to quell the gale within you,
to steady your ship,
save you from sirens.
I beg Poseidon to have mercy on you
as you embark on your personal Odyssey.

All I can give you is this:
a fractured piece of moonlight
from the night the sky
transformed into something less baleful
and I saw our future
in the constellations.

It wasn’t just the fireworks,
my angel.
Through all the endless nights,
I put my tenderness in you.


Rain Tree

The rain tree has faded
to a smoky pink
like the cigarette burns
on the backs of my hands.

I drink
pink liquor
and exhale white smoke.
I should
more grateful.

My woman is shaped like love.
I gnaw on my fingers
until the bones are exposed.
They look like what
my dog chews on.
My woman
is shaped like solitude,
like separate beds
two cities apart.

And my own body
is shaped like
raw meat.
It looks like what
a dog chews on,
it looks at me
from the corner of the room
while I lie in bed,
making love to no one,
play-acting as though
I am.

The rain tree has faded
to a smoky pink.

The Hardest Time of Year

I hate the last three months of the year. Aside from one incident at my first college, this is when all of my trauma occurred.

The end of 2017 is a blur. I remember I planned all these distractions for myself on the anniversary of the rape (December 15th), but ended up banging my head into the wall right before I was supposed to go sing karaoke at Applebee’s with Colette (my old best friend who is now nothing more than a distant roommate) and some of my coworkers. I remember crying and crying and taking Xanax and falling asleep.

All I do anymore is chain-smoke. I’ve smoked over a pack today and it’s not even 5pm.

I’ve been contemplating suicide again. I’m too scared of death to actually do anything fatal, and I’m even more scared of fucking it up and being permanently disabled, so I’d never actually do it, but it’s nice to think about sometimes. My few remaining friends keep telling me I can’t keep living in the past, but it feels like the past lives in me.

My mom scheduled the family Hanukkah party on December 15th, and I’m not sure what to do. I could just go to the party with Rebecca and pretend like everything’s fine (which, in all honesty, is probably what I’ll end up doing), or I could ask my mom to move it, but I think she’ll say it’ll be a good distraction for me, even though being around my family makes me want to die.

That’s such a shitty thing of me to say, but all they do is ask me about work because all I do is work and go to therapy, and God forbid they ask me about my mental health because we all know the Orfinger family can’t talk about anything real. Everything is superficial and perfect and happy, and no one’s an alcoholic (except forĀ  me and my aunt and my cousin) and none of us have an eating disorder (except for all the women on my dad’s side and me) and none of us ever hurt ourselves on purpose (except for me and my cousin). I’m so angry.

I’m angry that my family stood idly by while someone close to the family raped and molested me for years and didn’t notice and let it happen and didn’t intervene. I WAS A CHILD. I COULDN’T PROTECT MYSELF. I still can’t protect myself. I’m angry at my body. I’m angry at Tim. I’m angry at myself.

If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep on Going

With seduction plastered on my face,
I begged him to invade my space.
But I did not anticipate the cost,
just like that–virginity lost.
And in that mild winter, a deadly frost
crept over my body. I thought I’d freeze.
Rape stole strength from all parts of me.
I felt truly defeated, I was down on my knees.
Then in spite of everything, I felt warm, I could breathe!

I learned my lesson, never again
would I associate with older men
who deny the fact that I’m a lesbian.
They try to cut me down to size,
but I deserve a woman who tries
to love me just as I was made,
and maybe we’ll go to a pride parade.
But the most important thing to me,
besides God and my sobriety,
is knowing that my pain will end
when I learn to be my own best friend.
And while a soulmate might be a godsend,
I have to do the hard work first,
before trying to quench my carnal thirst.

The time has come to say goodbye
to addiction, bulimia, and wanting to die.
Ahead of me is a cloudless sky
free of torment, depression, and abusive guys.
I have hope for the future–that’s something new!
I’m suddenly proud to be gay and a Jew.
No more getting down on myself,
today, I have a whole new wealth
of knowledge about loving me for me.
I’m healing, I’m growing, I’m finally free.

Sick Muse

You haunt my body like
angered spirits roaming
the cemetery, looking for a final place
to rest.
I imagine: in another life, I am
possessed by
whatever evil entity torments
your meth-addicted brain.
Can you smell the blood on your hands?
Can you smell my contaminated innocence?
Perhaps in this half-life
I am
the poltergeist
wailing in the attic
while my abandoned
child cries.

Thinking About Nightmares

Fragments of your junkie face
prowl among my fitful dreams.
As I forget the timbre of your voice,
my body
holds the rest of the nightmare.

Sleep, sleep,
I am trying to sleep.

I wonder if police officers make snap judgments like,
Look at theseĀ 
black panties.
Who is this little whore
trying to fool?

In college before you
ruined me,
I dreamed I was a cloud,
vomiting acid rain and half-
digested Ramen noodles
onto anyone who dared darken
my corner of sky.

I’m no cleaner
than anyone else.

Before I was a cloud,
I was
a condom: necessary, but disposable
an accouterments for pleasure, then
full of cum and discarded.
There are dozens more of me
in the box you keep
in your nightstand. I can be
any girl or punching bag
you need, baby.

Before I was a condom,
I was
A little girl with
a faux-pearl bracelet,
a too-small nightgown,
and I imagine
I bled a lot
when I became his secret bride,
when I became a doll-baby like
the ones I can’t seem to put down now.

I am allergic to
the memories of you
and you
and you
and you.
I seize
I vomit
I bleed, but
my body has yet to rid itself
of the toxins you left in me.

Turn me on, baby.
Maybe I’ll dance for you.

Tomato Plant: Journal 3.12.18

I bought a tomato plant yesterday.

My mom is worried about me.

I’m dropping out of school after this semester. I’ll have my Associate’s degree after four years of failing and withdrawing from classes, assuming I don’t fail any more classes this semester.

I don’t get the school thing. I’m not stupid. I excelled in high school, despite all of my mental health issues. I even did well at Eckerd in my one class, despite my addiction and the sexual assault.

My tomato plant got blown over in the yard. I righted it.

My girlfriend Rebecca and I talk about moving to North Carolina, out in the country, but still close to Asheville. We want a few acres. She wants a horse. I want a cow. Cows are my favorite animal because of their eyes. Cows are beautiful, soulful. Sometimes I wish I’d been born a calf.

I want to get a job as a teacher’s aide at the Jewish school I attended as a child. This worries my mother. I will be “chronically underemployed.” I won’t have health insurance. I won’t be able to afford a new car, or a car at all. I won’t be able to move to the country with Rebecca, or buy her a horse, or buy myself the cow and goats and chickens I want. I will be poor.

I have never been poor before. I don’t think I’d like it much.

When my tomato plant grows, I will have deep red tomatoes to put in my salad.