What should have been but never was.jpg


Heather Sweeney


for Rachel

  1. “Billie Jean” was playing when I got my last pap smear.

  2. Tendons of song-broken light.  

  3. The doctor tried to talk me into a mammogram. I said “next time.”

  4. Listening to Bill Evans and Coltrane, meaning to erase.

  5. I am braided into this.

  6. Sometimes I want to feel something, but today is not the day.

  7. I love my dog way more than you.

  8. Don’t give me shit for dying my hair, getting botox, or drinking too much.

  9. When I told the nurse I didn’t have children she patted my arm and I looked away.

  10. I love you more when we are divided by at least two or more states.

  11. Can you do this for me?

  12. Dear paper gown, my nakedness is not yours to protect.  

  13. I get angry when I clean.  This is not a confession.

  14. You are my little demon.

  15. My heart is just not.  There or in it.  

  16. Unfolding into negative soil.

  17. When my back cracks I call it honesty.

  18. The gynecologist: a crisis of control.

  19. When my grandmother told her priest about the abuse he told her to be a better wife.

  20. There is no difference between human life and a word.

  21. Still tethered to Keats to the night’s starred face.

  22. Sometimes the impulse is wrong.  The word real is a real problem.

  23. I am a terrible wife but not because of what you might think.

  24. This bird in ruin.

  25. This year of ashes.

  26. Ten minutes at urgent care is 185$.

  27. Endless detention.

  28. This hinge of hunger. A dog knit with rain.

  29. This life is like a drug.

  30. I call it empowerment when he looks away first.

  31. Someone said don’t hesitate.

  32. I thought it was you.

  33. When I’m sad I go to Walgreens for a soda and new lip gloss.

  34. Dig the pomp but not the circumstance.

  35. Nights with Ke$ha and blue dream.

  36. Maybe this should be a problem.

  37. A consequence of feral hours spent and divided.

  38. Touching this internal cloud.

  39. In my defense I meant everything.

  40. Meet me in the shallow end.

  41. Let’s drink wine and watch Seinfeld.

  42. A gold chain burrowed in a spray tanned pasture.

  43. … … … … … … … …

  44. Just let me have this.

  45. A rose in revision.

  46. A skin cancer scab that won’t heal.

  47. It doesn’t care about what you want.

  48. You’ll be sorry if you ask me to take a survey of this place.

  49. Hollow and failing.

  50. Shy into animal hope on a spit.

  51. My new boyfriend is Jameson my lover, Jack Spicer.

  52. In a street of hog-tied hashtags.

  53. A pile of glass antlers.

  54. A rosary for decoration.  The last shape on earth.  

  55. To wrap the stale morning.  

  56. My diet coke says “bestie.” At least I have that.

  57. Dear Monica Lewinsky, I totally get you.

  58. Someone called social services on me.  

  59. Here I hunt for the knife in my bag that keeps me.

  60. A plank of hot sequins.  

  61. Plastic pollen for the taking.

  62. Cigarette butts on the hotel windowsill I call my dead children.

  63. I used to teach high school still drunk from the night before.

  64. Lost the ability to cry. Drawing eyeliner onto the horizon.

  65. Coming with the rapids.

  66. A series of pods to translate.

  67. A hive of unshed tears.

  68. The days when we used to fight about God.

  69. Call it a century of longing.

Heather Sweeney recently earned an MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University.  She is the editor of Shine, a creative lifestyle blog.  Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Bombay Gin, Summer Stock, Shantih, and White Stag.  Currently, she lives in San Diego with her husband and beloved dog, Dexter where she writes and teaches yoga.

JD Thornton