Phantom Romance

I press dandelions and lavender and carnations 

into my diary at the end of the night,

a sacred performance of red 

roses ironed between school textbooks.



elusive as a dandelion,

whose withering eyelids

I want to embrace,

butterfly-lashes and petal fingertips,

taunting, so tenderly, along my thigh. 


It’s all:

black tulips & dahlias & bat orchids,

crying specters & dusted relics,

tears caught in dixie cups,

pebbles placed on headstones.

Our bodies are cemeteries.


Let stems entangle,

bouquets flood,

and if I am to perish first,

add me to those pages,

brittle leaves & stunted perfumes.

They are yours to keep.


I thank our spirits 

for this ineffable ruin— 

nation of the untouchable:

paper cranes on your windowsill,

the ivory piano key you keep hidden in your desk,

the daily soliloquies you record,

the way you over-pronounce my name,

waltzing on muddy grounds.


Ghosts rest on your knuckles,

questions mark your dimples and

stars panic along your chin. 

(Would you know the number of wrinkles in my palm?)


I’m sure she has written atlases

mapping your body,

which eye is the first to puddle,

the way you kiss when your oxygen drops,

brain suffocates,

neck loosens.


You peek your head through the

door frame and whisper


You linger with me,

you leave with her.

With those passing glances, I know,

I know,

I am merely a phantom romance.


Yet, I am still a believer
in ghosts, that my hyacinths will live longer,

that no one will read my diary,

that my collection of flattened flowers will stay preserved.


So I wake up and offer a bouquet of yellow roses.

I attempt to restore your faith through 

prayers or morning corn muffins, buttered and hot.