home for the holidays

home for the holidays

 

crumpled blankets and

strangely lucid dreams,

piled in the corner of

your childhood bedroom.

home is where the shower runs

warm, and the oven burns

gas, and you agree to eat eggs

so that no one will get mad at you.

 

your sister is a black belt now.

your father will no longer drink

at the dinner table. your mother

remains smooth stone

that will never grind to sand.

 

the town centre is exactly where

you left it.

your nose starts bleeding

on the third floor of Waterstones

and suddenly you are back

to hacking up your lungs

for the stain of broken bones

and wondering why your

hypochondria

is so synonymous with

home.

 

this body

scares you shitless

with every stab

and ache.

you take off your
chlorine-stained

binder for the day,

picturing the ribs

stitching back together

beneath the skin.

 

on the inside,

everyone is equally terrifying.

your insides are a minefield.

your insides are Flanders in bloom.

your insides are a swan dive

in your ex’s parents’

bathroom.

you know the things

you can’t control

will one day be the death of you.

 

you’re cutting your hair

in the sink again.

you’re waiting for the doctor

to call you.

this house,

this body,

this bedroom -

they never change,

no matter how much growing up you do.

 

sure, this safe loves you.

this same loves you.

this unchanging loves you.

but at what cost?

 

you make the bed.

you take the shower.

you poke at your ribcage

beneath the spray

and wait for the train

to rattle you home

again.





 

Bio: Mikey May (he/fae/xe) is a queer trans man poet, linguist, and trainee teacher whose work explores language, sex, trauma, and faith. His self-published zines on gender and Taylor Swift can be found at mikeymay.itch.io. His work is forthcoming in Marías at Sampaguitas, The Open Culture Collective, and Paper Milk.