poems by Kyle Hemmings

Girlfriend

When I heard that you were seeing
somebody else, I burned all your
notebooks from school, the ones
that filled every drawer of my desk.
for days the smoke lingered in my room
spread to other parts of the apartment
like the sound of the neighbor’s orgasm
every night at 1 a.m. i had to sleep
with a face mask, the smoke was
that heavy. sometimes, i’d wake up
to my own sleep apnea, and for a moment,
i was your new boyfriend
who didn‘t need to struggle for air.
i would do all the things your old boyfriend
didn’t. I’d open car doors, and laugh
at your inane jokes about the guy who
stuttered at the Dairy Queen, who in some way,
resembled me. your new boyfriend was a tragic hero
with a skateboard and an ugly scar along the neck.
maybe that’s why you loved him.
the smoke, however, would not go away.
so I went to the library for some fresh air
and to forget
but i wound up searching for your words
that i had destroyed. your words
were in each library book,
in each aisle
and in several languages.
you had spread yourself too thin.

China #4

china is sitting in the corner
china won’t take off her Halloween dragon mask
china is throwing candy wrappers on the floor
fuck you, says china, pick them up
china is acting like the spoiled brat
you were yesterday & the day before
if you talk to china very softly
& tell her that mom doesn’t have favorites
china will sense your double-track lies
& will be in your face

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