Yesterday, I spent 60 dollars on groceries,
took the bus home,
carried both bags with two good arms back to my studio apartment
and cooked myself dinner.
You and I may have different definitions of a good day.
This week, I paid my rent and my credit card bill,
worked 60 hours between my two jobs,
only saw the sun on my cigarette breaks
and slept like a rock.
Flossed in the morning,
locked my door,
and remembered to buy eggs.
My mother is proud of me.
It is not the kind of pride she brags about at the golf course.
She doesn’t combat topics like, ”My daughter got into Yale”
with, “Oh yeah, my daughter remembered to buy eggs”
But she is proud.
See, she remembers what came before this.
The weeks where I forgot how to use my muscles,
how I would stay as silent as a thick fog for weeks.
She thought each phone call from an unknown number was the notice of my suicide.
These were the bad days.
My life was a gift that I wanted to return.
My head was a house of leaking faucets and burnt-out lightbulbs.
Depression, is a good lover.
So attentive; has this innate way of making everything about you.
And it is easy to forget that your bedroom is not the world,
That the dark shadows your pain casts is not mood-lighting.
It is easier to stay in this abusive relationship than fix the problems it has created.
Today, I slept in until 10,
cleaned every dish I own,
fought with the bank,
took care of paperwork.
You and I might have different definitions of adulthood.
I don’t work for salary, I didn’t graduate from college,
but I don’t speak for others anymore,
and I don’t regret anything I can’t genuinely apologize for.
And my mother is proud of me.
I burned down a house of depression,
I painted over murals of greyscale,
and it was hard to rewrite my life into one I wanted to live
But today, I want to live.
I didn’t salivate over sharp knives,
or envy the boy who tossed himself off the Brooklyn bridge.
I just cleaned my bathroom,
did the laundry,
called my brother.
Told him, “it was a good day.
Kait Rokowski (A Good Day)

On our first date, you were swollen-eyed and hungover,
veins pumping through the dwindling remains of a half gallon of coconut rum.
I sat on the sidewalk and straightened my skirt as you washed down two Advils with a bottle of Coca Cola,
and when you’d swallowed that drunken panacea
I looked up to see two those two dark orbs,
their whites tinged with blush,
peering at me through the scraggly tangles of hair.

I’d been drunk only once and knew little of the poison,
but when you leaned against the brick of the pharmacy and asked what my drink of choice was,
I panicked and whispered that I only drank wine.
Laughing, you said you imagined I sipped it exclusively from a fluted glass,
nose turned up, like some elegant poet.

A few weeks later, a fork-tongued girl hissed in my ear in English class that she saw you kissing someone else when you were wasted at a party,
all hands
and nails
and lips
and teeth.
She said you were late to text me back because you were wrapped around her body,
latched onto her skin like some prolific leech.
It stung as though the lungs were torn from my chest cavity,
but you’d never said you were only mine,
so I sewed the secret into the back of my skull
and refused to rip it out.
When you kissed me,
I couldn’t stop wondering if I tasted different on your tongue.

For days I ached to know what part I lacked—
what piece had chipped off of me to explain why I couldn’t be enough to sate you on my own.
I bought a cheap two liter bottle of strawberry vodka in an attempt to fill the chasms and cracks,
and drank a third of it by myself in one night.
The burning in my gut was a sting I craved as punishment for
not knowing how to make you want to stay,
and I passed out on the floor with my phone in my lap,
waiting for you to answer.
When I woke up to the vibration, there were mascara tracks dried and hardened on my cheeks.
You asked, “how was your night, beautiful?”
so I said everything was lovely
(and then vomited for an hour).

I ran into you in the city only days after,
fingers clasped around the hand of a different girl,
the two of you laughing like hyenas in the landscape of the buildings.
You had told me that morning you were too busy to leave the house,
so when you caught a glimpse of my face across the street,
you froze, statuesque, like some marble David.
I could tell you wanted her more than I, and perhaps I should have let you;
instead, I drank myself sick with whiskey in my friend’s apartment
and slurred lies to myself in the dark.
I pretended nothing was wrong when you wrapped me in those spider-silk words:
“She’s just a friend, I swear. It isn’t what it appeared to be. It never is.”

The last time we saw each other,
I was swollen-eyed and hungover.
You were sober,
We could barely string together enough syllables for a conversation in the vinyl booth of the diner;
still, you drove me home and kissed me in the front seat of your car, fingertips grazing my thighs softly,
like a whisper.
Yet when I started to trail down your neck,
you pushed me off with a sudden force, for fear that I’d try to mark you.
Of course, you couldn’t have another girl seeing the yellowing bruise
when she kissed you there the next day.
I stumbled out of your car after a hasty goodbye,
and you drove away before I even unlocked my front door.

I remember a night at the start of it all:
you were drunk off of twelve beers and you asked why I never wrote poetry about you,
although I had written so many men immortal in my words
and trapped them in the amber of my black pen ink.
You claimed it was charming when I spilled stories about you off the tip of my tongue,
and pestered me for a mere verse.
Do you recall what I said?
I told you, “I can only write about what breaks my heart.”

Abigail Staub, “I Promise I’m Not Mad Anymore, Just Low on Poetry Material”
(via guiseofgentlewords)