I was soaking wet. I was cold. I tried to sleep through it. It was part of my dream. I woke up.

            It smelled like piss.

            I thought I wet the bed, but my own underwear were dry.

            Ben was snoring heavily next to me.  He had his mouth guard in with a little bit of drool on his lip, which I promised never to make fun of.

            He was rolling in piss. A fully-grown man’s bladder amount of piss was seeping into the sheets, the egg crate topper, and into the mattress. Into my pants. Into my skin, soggy with his pee.

            I shook him and shook him violently until he woke from a gurgling drunken slumber. I directed him to the shower, not saying a word, not knowing what to say anyways because I knew he must be so embarrassed.

            We had lived together maybe two months, and he had never pissed the bed. Also, he had never drank so much.

Next morning he mumbled about how the melatonin had knocked him out, so far out, he didn’t even wake to pee. He didn’t even wake when he pissed himself. I just nodded, trying not to embarrass him. I would not bring it up, although he felt the need to acknowledge it quickly.

            That was the first time he woke me in the middle of the night. When he pissed himself.

            The next time, he was sobbing. His body quaked, his thick forearms wrapped around his head as he heaved into the pillow next to me. He was over six feet, and probably six inches of him dangled off the end of the bed, and I could not wrap myself around him tight enough to make the quaking stop.

Tremble, tremble, heave, choke, sob. Tremble tremble. Heave. Choke. Sob.

            I shushed and shushed him and cooed and cooed like a pigeon to her fledglings, hunkering over him in the chilly night.

I want to die, he said. I had did not have words for him. Don’t. That is all. Four letters with an apostrophe that meant Please do not say these things, or do the things you think of, because I love you and I need you.

            Pissing himself was just the beginning.

            He would get so drunk. He would drink and drink and I began to beg him to stop. Every time I said I would leave, and I did not leave, and inside I began to die a little bit too because I was a woman of my word and I was not keeping my word and I was not curing this, I was just carrying it all with me.

            His breath smelled like whiskey when he picked me up from work.  I did not tell a soul. He had a tall glass every day when I would get home, and he would already be foggy.

            The nights he did wake to pee, the bathroom would be rancid the next morning with his whiskey piss.

            He went to a dark place, left me alone to clean and cook and move around him, on tip toes. I was skipping over egg shells every day looking for the bomb that would set him off, down the drain, down the bottle. Some days he would smile and joke and we would go for a ride, but I would look at the sun and it was the color of his fucking piss, and by the end of the day, by sunset, he was hammered any ways, and I would stay up with him all night begging him to find meaning in life. Begging him to live.

I could not get him to live.

I could not stop him from drinking.

He destroyed me from the inside out. Begged me to leave because he loved me, then said that he hated me. He stained me. I was shattered porcelain when I finally broke free of that torpedo.

                        When I think of him, I see the bottles and cans, and I smell piss, the heaped blankets in the corner. How he quickly mentioned it in the morning, before he poured his next drink.


Stinky Farts

I love your stinky farts;

Well I mean, I don’t, they’re gross,

and sometimes make me gag,

but I love the moment you confess to it,

how the marble carvings of your face soften

into a mere human,

a creature tip toeing off their pedestal.

With a sheepish grin and boyish eye-twinkle,

how it brings you from vacant conversation

to real life laughter;

like, you just shit your pants.

Now we’re solid friends.


I dreamt of the desert, 

a landscape I had yet to conquer, 

but these bleached river beds

and chalky white cliffs

look like death.

There is awe, but not beauty, 

in the blood red head of a vulture. 

The desert stretched for miles

for hours and for days around us.

I’d read of how people found peace 

and freedom in the vast expanse, 

but the sand was hot on my toes, 

and I did not feel free, but ca=lammy

and clausterphobic,

like the desert would never release me. 

I knew I’d never take the cool crumble of soil beneath my toes

for granted again.

Ruby Falls

I could trace the cave walls in your back

as you trundled deeper into the Earth ahead of me. 

People spoke in southern drawls and Australian accents around us,

but I only heard the melody of your laugh

sinking into the damp cave stone pathways.

The guide pointed to a stalagmite called Angel Wing,

all I saw was how the dim light twinkled in the outskirts of your smile. 

The guide warned it would be a moment before the lughts came on,

so shadowy figures dispersed amongst the cavern,

and we stood in a charged silence

the thunder of the waterfall electrifying the space between us.

We stood not quite apart, but not together,

and you could feel the electrons sparking and rubbing,

dragging us in and then shoving us apart,

and I imagined that’s what your skin would feel like beneath my hands;

cool cave damp and electric. 

I wanted to put my head on your shoulder. 

When the lights kicked on, we took pictures, instinctively moving apart.

As we climbed back to sun, out of the bowels of Earth, 

we passed the Steak and Potato rock formation.

I rubbed the smooth potato stone and marveled at the fact

that you and I were so far from home.


You pointed to a girl on a sun-baked street and said, she’s pretty-

except her dress made her look fat

and you laughed. 

I saw her glossy hair and and thin boned legs and was mortified,

sick to find I wanted to be beautiful in your eyes. 

I suddenly felt thick and disproportionate in the skin I’d come to love,

and my jokes felt sluggish and stupid on my tongue.

When you said  cowboy boots were sexy, 

I wanted to walk one last time in the pair I’d tread to death.

I felt pitiful and lame and sweaty. Unsexy. 


I wanted to tell you how your eyes held me when the sun shone through them,

like a thin pane of stained glass, 

but you said my breath stunk 

     and I thought I’d never be beautiful again. 

You thought me silly and a fool, at times, wreckless,

but I wanted to show you the love and tenderness I bestowed

upon each beautiful being  in my life. 

When you gave me a half smile, and a twinkling half glance my way, 

I thought I’d found my worth in your eyes,

but you’d dismiss it with a kidding shove

and I’d go tumbling back to a blushing disgrace.

I wanted to tell you I thought you brave

and amazing, for all you’d gone through.

I did not underestimate it one bit. 

I wanted to tell you that I remembered, 

before awkward elbow bumps and half smiles,

 I remembered, 

before the quick flick of our eyes that never found the right second to meet,

I remembered being sixteen, your head in my lap,

and the wool of your hair in my fingers

on our long journey home. 

I remember the weight of your content heart 

balanced on my knee.