Author: Kaylee Via

Kaylee Via is 20 years old. She lives and goes to school in Ohio. She doesn’t really like Ohio but she doesn’t have any idea where she would be if she weren’t there, so she’ll probably just stay put. You can follow her on Twitter.


there are people that i love, and there are 

people that i split open with my tongue

only to leave slow-bleeding red thick tar

on a dirty floor. i say that i’m young

and, of course, it’s something i’ll grow out of.

i’ll wake up one day and it will be dead. 

but nobody ever told me that love,

at least for a while, is inside your head,

a poison, metal thought. it makes me wonder

what exactly things are, if i have nails

or claws, if something is beautiful or

compelling only for the way it wails 

when i snap my jaws shut on it. fragile

boy, i want you; you are something i can kill.

The Flower

there’s something perfunctory in the way that i miss you.
does that make sense? 
it’s a habit—not an ache—do you believe me

we are speeding headlights dodging deer by accident, afraid
more of guts on the windshield than a glow slowly dying in a pair of eyes;
four hands on the wheel trying
to crash a car, two people who don’t care whether they’re still there
once they get where they’re supposed to be going in it.
what does it mean 
to be inside something that could kill you operating it like it couldn’t?

a lot of people know
your name but i know you like the quiet just as much as me and you wish
people would leave you
alone, but you like that they don’t;
i don’t think that makes you a liar but 

i can’t get you out of anywhere
does that make sense?
you’ve been carried by bees to all the parts of my life that i didn’t think were starving.
everything just shows me how little i know, how much i have to be
scared of and i am.

do you believe me

Everyone Is Falling All The Time

we are in a shitty picture together that some drunk kid took
with your iphone 4 at a party in paul’s basement. 
it wasn’t an especially wild or memorable party;
no one threw up so that’s good. 
no one cried so that’s good.

our mouths are still red and swollen in the picture
from making out against the faceless wall.
i remember falling into the rhythm of the song

that was on while kissing you, kissing you 

hard, and it didn’t taste like anything,
which isn’t weird because we were both drunk off fireball 

and sweating, and i was trying not to think about anyone else—
trying not to think about the girl across the room letting the boy’s hand crawl
dangerously on her back,
trying not to notice the way his hungry eyes had stared at her
and the way she wouldn’t mind,
wouldn’t say no.

i was frantic to prove that i wasn’t that small,
wasn’t searching for love so hard that i would let it devour me, 

and i put you in the corner and kissed you
with as much indifference as i could pull together, 
trying to need as little as possible so it would cancel out
how desperate for everything everyone else was.

Things Really Have No Color At Night

it was funny while we were sitting around the table,
our hands clutching cards and drinks like little stones 
too light to do damage until there were enough of them.

it was funny when i was slammed against the bathroom wall,
your teeth on my neck like a fire,
ears in the next room completely capable of hearing 
the sound of fever,

the sound of a light switched by liquor
hurling our bodies into darkness 
but leaving everything else to stumble into light.

i don’t remember when we all went to bed though,
when the moon split the kitchen in half through the window,
when we ran out of cards to play carefully with shaking hands, 
when my heartbeat was swallowed by your mouth;

it was perfectly okay to want it so much. 

there were hard and nervous fingers, 
inspired but unsure; 
whispers and gasps gobbled up by the black 
but returned to us in the morning 

i woke up and saw you next to me. 
i did not regret kissing you,
but i hardly remembered wanting to.

maybe we were ghosts with faces not our own,
voices of other people, 
softer skin that did not belong to us.
i can often convince myself of a dangerous dream, but

your lips were too swollen for me to not notice—
the bruise on my neck far too purple
to pretend something had not died.

For The Rest Of Your Life For The Rest Of My Life

i’m gonna act like i never called and you are too.
you’re polite and i’m proud
and everything is fragile,

and you’re gonna ask who left the lip prints on the poem.
not out of curiosity, you just know it’s what i wanna hear,
and it is what i wanna hear
and the sound of people screaming in their bedrooms
as they turn twenty and twenty one and twenty five

he’s headed to boston. you and a bunch of people are gonna watch
him leave on saturday because we all like to pretend
pain isn’t sweet
or something that makes us feel like we’re interesting,

and yet we’re all trying to swallow it;
we’re all chewing it like glass and talking like our tongues aren’t almost cut out
of our mouths,
almost flopping on kitchen floors like fish
when he doesn’t say anything to make you think he still loves you
enough for it to be enough.

look, i know you’ve been crying a lot.
that night in the bar—when you kept checking to make sure
your makeup wasn’t running—
it’s stuck in my brain and it plays before i fall asleep every night.

we’re all just trying to make people think we’re okay,
that our arms and bodies and hearts aren’t tired
or threatening us with guns against their own heads,
knowing their splattered insides on a wall would mean a lot
more than ours,

and i wish i could be there to watch you be strong:
watch you try to smile with teeth;
try to forget the way the door sounds when it shuts

like a sigh of relief,
and a strangled sob,
and your mom in the shower when she thinks you can’t hear.

we’re so much ourselves when we think other people aren’t listening.