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What we would be, hands on heart
and the promise of a slow and steady bleed.
so the decades may strike us down,
but never the doubt.

In a house by the sea maybe we leave
books in stacks, unread,
too busy clasping at every joint,
pushing and pulling as the waves do on soft shores.

I write soliloquies about your beauty,
even if contemporaries cannot see,
we’ve got space and flowers and hours
left to go before we sleep.

We would, for as long as the music lasts,
as long as the moon fishhooks and sky
and I keep my eyes open,
believing in the gentlest way to go,
with you, ineffably.

A.M. Kennedy, “As Far as Love Poems Go”

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But how are you to know, your soul balanced against a feather? What you are, impossible, intangible, reach forward into the you who doesn’t yet exist and drag them back here. Tell them you need to believe. Press down on the corners of time until they lie flat on the bed, tuck the edges in– even the most tightly pulled sheet sets wrinkle when you lie in them.

Would it matter to know the madness, the ear, the lower belly lonely doesn’t go on forever? Tomorrow is always hollow moon away, intangible, effervescent. The plate today, yellow paint, happy that tastes like poison pine.

Smear the canvas, the mouth, breathe it into life with more beauty than you thought you owned. In you, in you, leaking out like stars and starry and blue romance bloom.

A.M. Kennedy, “Vincent”

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Under the water, press hands against the silver glass,
the world viewed from the other side.
Blue, cold, spine to sand instead of sky.
Remind us, what was it Alice felt
slipping inexorably down?
Fear or hope at the prospect
of the inevitable choke.
Ask us,
why we spent all that time trying to die.
Soft skinned, the love rubs and grinds and blisters,
kiss him, kiss her, kiss they/them,
what else are you going to do
with all this painful life?
Above the water, drink just enough sadness to be sweet,
to be the temperature of alive.
The world viewed from the air,
Alice following the rabbit down,
and the hare,
the hare back up.

A.M. Kennedy, “Alice in Wonder”

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If you were a dream,
your skin would taste
of orange marmalade,
we’d sit in the sun and
day after day
it would never rain.

There would be airplanes tickets,
thickets of bramble bursting roses
always in bloom,
the too soon ticking of tomorrow’s tomb
a distant never memory.

My darling dream,
in every bed I tread and trace
your likeness against the sheets,
hoping maybe the way the cotton folds
will keep you tucked there
against me.

A.M. Kennedy, “Orange Hues”

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In the woods,
wicked bare fingers undress us.
You and I and the sky,
we spread the stars around,
send them in glossy cascades
through the trees.
Believe me when I say
I have never seen such a sight
as you in full dark,
as you in full light.

A.M. Kennedy, “Wanderlust”

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We build above ground now,
touch the earth and lift.

What a beautiful house,
crown molding, wood floors,
but at the edges the
unforgotten blemishes are
handwritten in.

The portrait wall is full of faces that aren’t yours,
why don’t you ever hang your own artwork?

Ink bursts on the tongue,
spit out the truth,
does it have to be beautiful to count?

All those women in front of your mother’s mirror
with their hair pulled tight to scalp,
the pain, the pretty.

What does it mean to get up out of the mud?
That we are dirty, that we are alive,
that we will wield this language
in whatever direction we want.

Fuck it, bring the earth inside,
fuck it, write your secrets in the margins,
fuck it, look yourself in the mirror every morning
and tell it, Ma,
I made it,
fuck,
I made it.

A.M. Kennedy, “The Ugly Wallpaper & Every Other Useful Thing That Came Cheap”

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If it comes to that, will I be forgiven? My basket doth overflow with trinkets, but my heart is a desert, I still don’t understand good exchange rates.

If someone has to be your dagger, I guess I can be strong enough. Shaped by those same hands, take me to the breast and carve.

The anger was brittle, now it’s crumbled to ashy despair. Smear it across all my fragile skin, is this the look we’re going for?

If I have your joy I also have your fear, two gifts for the price of one. Coping is a learned skill, take what you are given and get better at molding.

If it comes to that, forgive me my limits, my cactus heart, the way I wandered too close to the barren and now fear the drought.

I am fallible and weak, I crack at the thought of never doing enough, swallow the fear of going to sleep and missing the call.

But the truth is also feathered joy, a saccharine sweet honey that seeps into all my wounds and soothes me. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but sometimes it’s just relief.

A.M. Kennedy, “You would say anything, and I would say nothing”

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In the howl you breathe
and the trees exhale clouds,
who you were is not, in the end,
who you get to be.

Apply the morning liberally,
watch the eyes in the bathroom mirror ripple,
quicksilver like a magic trick,
there and gone again.

If you’ve got one night perhaps you should grasp it,
perhaps you should mask it,
make peace with the stranger who
wakes up in your bed every morning.

What do they always say
when you’re not the static
they think should be?

A.M. Kennedy, “You’ve Changed”