11. Guilt

11. Guilt

I never follow through with

anything I say I’ll do

ever since you taught me how

to leave.

I used to be loyal, to the point

of foolery

they say you treat the way you’re treated

and since you never followed through

a demon voice inside my head

lets my responsibilities slip away into


alarms don’t startle me,

but I wake again and again

for hours all night long

gnawing thoughts that

eat away at my morality

find their dinner in my qualms

have brunch by frying my subconscious

like eggs

a conscience isn’t an easy thing to shake.

I can shove it in the glovebox of my beat-up-bumper car

but it shows up at my bedroom

door at midnight

wakes me roughly by the hair

spews a list of my wrongdoings

in poetry or prose so

they sound more sophisticated

but the pretty words just mask

the guilt I feel.

my conscience lives in my closet.

I leave it blankets and crumbs

but it’s not too grateful

it holds me to standards

I can’t keep

can’t provide it with steak and tiramisu

every night

or a king-sized bed

I’m not an angel, no matter

how hard I pretend to be.

whispers sound like screams in

the deadliest of nights

my conscience has a gravel voice

that cuts me like ice and fire all at once

painting visions in my mind

of past wrongs I never righted

that strangle me when I’m asleep

so I wake up gasping

even in my dreams

rolling around in the back of a car with

him who never thought I was enough, even so

stealing money from my dad’s rusty piggy bank

when I was a little girl

making scathing remarks about my peers

who are just ordinary people

not wonderful musicians,

but worthy people, still

never giving money to the beggars

at the interstate exits

spending days on Netflix

when I should be writing,

or loving

or just being

the time that I scraped a truck

pulling out of a pediatric parking lot

and didn’t stop to leave a note

the inexplicable feeling that

I’m to blame for every friendship

that went down in flames

my conscience lifts with bony fingers

each thought like jagged rocks

and piles them in my bed

I’m surrounded

soon my pillows turn to rocks, too, and

I can’t sleep.