I notice her purple nails 

maybe aubergine,

not dark enough 

to be eggplant. 

The color of lavender-soaked fig.

We spend our time together

cleaning other people’s houses, 

rooms with violet walls


if they could speak,

would confess 

all the times

I’ve wanted to beg for her. 

I want to tell her 

she is the plum

I crave 

to sink my teeth into. 

A fresh, beautiful bruise

that only hurts 

when I remember 

I am not welcome 

in a heart 

not meant for me.

If I Weren’t Bound

I have never mistaken 

his shyness

for longing, 

short answers


for holding back 

his begging for me, 

on his knees, 

a position of willing

while scrubbing 

and scraping

everything unclean. 

His heavy morning eyes

have never  before revealed 

each time he’s wanted

to feel the imprint  

of my lips

on his. 


I notice the sapphire  

of his gaze, 

where it lands

when he looks at

the buried treasure 

map of my body,  

the breathless restraint 

to not scream

from the tip of his tongue 

that he loves–


and the sound 

of horses galloping. 

His honeyed words

stick to the caverns 

of my heart, 

take me by the hand

to secrets

I can’t confess.  

If I weren’t bound

within the threads 

of until death do we part,

I don’t know how clean

this house would get.

This Already Wrecked Heart

A nervous, trembling wind

that could break 

fragile things:

this already wrecked heart

that beats 

to the rhythm 

of your voice

saying my name. 

I can only touch your skin

through the dust I collect,

the discarded parts of you

no one else finds 


This naked,

exposed wound lust, 

this tormenting, 

twisted, tangled 


why are you taking 

up a canyon’s worth of  space

if we only know shallow-creek smalltalk 

and shy smiles, 

quick laughter

and awkward eye contact? 

Why do I full body ache 

for your hands 

to learn each part of me, 

                                     in every space we occupy together?

How can you have the audacity 

to get stuck in my teeth, 

to be the fury 

in the carved pathways of every thought? 

Is there a reward you’re receiving 

for being this haunting, 

the first ever living ghost to possess? 

Where do you get off?

James Roach (he/him) does his best writing between the hours of whenever the hell he feels like it and he’ll sleep when he thinks of the perfect title for this poem. He dug up his midwest roots to live in Olympia, Wa., not too far from some sleepy volcanoes and coastlines to write home about. 

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