on the time my girlfriend decided to grow out her nails

poetry by Caroline Grand-Clement

on the time my girlfriend decided to grow out her nails

& clawed out my insides, hungry for more than what was allowed.

a womb fearful of an impossible child.

in your fear i awaken

call me mother of all fleeting things; a womb
too empty to bear importance. amongst the stars
i am birthing butterflies from your collar bones,
bones cracking like applause.

call me daughter of a godless time;
kisses full of sulfur & a fire in my palms. on
this earth we do not know of gravity, only the
wisdom that we should stay hidden.

call me sister of drowning sorrow; the shore
too ancient to name home. in this sea the
tempest rages scarlet, a belly too full
of remembrance & torn down decorations.

call me sanctuary for the birds; half a tone away
from being my favorite song. wear the clouds
like a cape that only lets the tears through. the
wind is only as loud as the curses you fear.

ode to the muscle beating under my skin

my fluttering bird, my ocean blue wind,
my farther-away-than-the-past heart.
don’t you know how many lullabies
i sang to your deep shallows, sang
to your blood red sea of tears?
the sky is too wide for you to find
yourself in, too dark for you to find
her in. you are stumbling around
in quicksand, too clumsy to reach
out of the grave you’ve dug yourself
into. the dirt under her fingernails
should’ve been hint enough to stay
away from her undertaker smile.
it’s too cold in the basement of your
mouth for me to forgive you tonight.

self-love as

i learn of self-love as essential // as the warm blanket on a cold night // as the long breath of air before going underwater // i learn self-love like not missing you anymore // self-love as writing the pain out // self-love as not reading our old texts / as deleting them //

self-love like waking up / like not giving up // like painting on mondays // self-love like masturbating mid afternoon to music and poetry // i learn of self-love found in my earphones / in the flowers / in laughter //

self-love a synonym for survival / for moving forward // self-love as catharsis // self-love for solace / for a reason to keep standing // self-love as sitting down sometimes because it gets tiring // self-love for continuing // self-love as me / with care //

self-love as eating when hungry // self-love as drinking water even when not thirsty // self-love as getting through the day without painkillers // self-love for one less breakdown // one more day / no tears //

self-love as not looking for you in everyone / self-love as forgiving myself when i do // self-love like forgiveness // self-love as forgetting the ache / as remembering to breathe // self-love as forcing myself to breathe / as forcing myself to go outside //

self-love like no shutting people out // self-love like time alone // self-love like company // self-love like balance // self-love for asking for help // for accepting it // self-love for no more scars // for no more anger //

self-love as holding the memories close / but not close enough to hurt //

so we’re kleptomaniacs

so we’re kleptomaniacs, too busy
stealing kisses to keep track of the
stolen laughter in our pockets. we’re
taking hands that aren’t our owns,
sneaking glances past oblivious
parents because if they knew;
darling, love, sweetheart, if they
knew, they’d handcuff us to the devil.
chained to the eighth circle we’re
stealing each other’s bodies
because what else is there to do
with a love like ours than combust.
we are born of fire & sin. we are
poison-breathing snakes that know
only of our own burning. we are
burning at the stake for love, for
calling out into the red night. we own
nothing but the eternal torture we’ve
been damned to, & we will rob the
world of hate.

Caroline Grand-Clement is a seventeen years old, half-time poet, half-time student at an international school in Lyon, France. She dreams of art in any form, falling stars & late night conversations. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Beyond the Shallows, an anthology by L’Ephemere Review, Mystic Blue Review, and elsewhere. She takes part in the school magazine as writer & co-editor. You can find her on Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram @octopodeshearts.

so we’re kleptomaniacs was first published in Mystic Blue Review.