You wear your prom dress
like a hospital gown
and when your date says
you look beautiful, you laugh
like you’re waiting for the punchline.
Loneliness is what your friends joke about:
ha ha, Saturday night-in watching Law & Order
with my cat,
and you laugh along but you don’t dare
talk about the emptiness that settles like an anvil
in your stomach, that every night you weave your stitches
only to break them,
that everyone treats your heart
like a fucking ash tray.
That you take up drama
so when you’re Maria
crying over Tony’s corpse,
you can pretend like the tears
aren’t your own.
That your biology textbook tells you people
spend almost half of their lives asleep
but it doesn’t tell you about the ones
who never wake up.
That in art class, you have to start
your self-portrait over twice
and when your teacher asks what’s wrong
you tell her that there are 52 shades of blue
in this world,
and not a single one
is as deep