Piper L. White
The Missing Heart, Screamer
A block of ice rests like a sleeping beast within my chest cavity, reeling. It froze over slowly and threatened to break under fingers that split me like ice skates. A thick knock against an iron gate, listening for the fall, the breaths within the Trojan Horse and calling out to me as if your words meant something when said aloud.
Twin flames, tied as one under a red string like a bouquet of white roses before splitting in the vase, tainting the water, foggy, like my eyes. Carve out pieces of me like red apple skin and feed it to your nerves, the nerve you had to try and break me.
When I fell down the well and reached for you I watched your eyes dance behind darkness like a flashlight, guiding me to my own danger. Even with boundaries I mistook crumbling cement for golden pathways.
I swiped my finger in red velvet cake batter and like quicksand I kept sinking beneath a red sea disguised as sweetness that rotted my teeth until I pulled them out like flower petals, wondering how many months I’d keep the facade up.
Ice picks against a heart already frozen over feels like tap water drips that never shut off. When the doctor hits the sour part of the knee and you don’t kick because the feeling is loose.
Cold is frosted windshields and still driving, playing risk with the heat on high, but never feeling the warm air. Our breaths mingled in my bedroom when we breathed out next to one another in a cloud of murky smoke.
Hairline fractures were left on the ice until the heart went missing, locked up beneath the ground where it beat against a box, drowned out by wet earth and giggles of children bouncing over it.
I double take in the mirror at the iced scar in between my chest. Missing makes indifference feel like a friend. After all, you were always temporary to me.
Screamer (after Edvard Munch’s The Scream)
Shoes too tight on calloused feet
from walking the bridge up and down.
To find the meaning of life
in that blaze of sienna sky.
Was he mad?
To let out that scream,
petrified, hands on either side
to feel the vibration in his brain.
To hear his own scream echo in his head.
Did he launch himself off that bridge?
Or, did he seal his scream with a glass jar
to be left behind with all the other horrors of his mind?
Stuffed away, trying to ignore how his feet
were the only thing that seemed to scream back.