Vanessa Willoughby


winter always leaves me
with scratches and scars
and this year, i think i am spinning on the last of nine lives.
i talk to you before dawn and  
watch ghoulish branches slumped like broken hilts of swords.
there’s always a crackle, the rattle of ice in your liquor glass
and i’m always trying not to let you hear me smile.
i dream of places i’ve never been
like the bahamas and paris and
a version of new york city only writers can cling to like
the last bit of food for a murder of crows
a dream filtered and defanged and lovingly polished.
wild-eyed ambitions fill the curves in my party dress
and when you ask for a secret
i reanimate my thirteenth year when every mirror in the house burned my eyes
and i watched my friends rise
and awaken like flush-faced snow white sleeping beauties
as if someone
turned on the switch that could make them somebody.
i just want to be alone with you in a way that dances the knife-blade of fear and
i have never been enough of a good thing.