Holy Martyrs Armenian

Poem: Cold

“people say real…” he stops, searching for a word, “real interesting things about you, you know that?”

when he hesitates before saying “interesting”

I bite back a scoff and leave myself to wonder

what baggage my name carries

when people say it like venom

spilling from the gaps between their teeth

they must lecture him like he’s the new kid

in a class i wasn’t bright enough

to be invited to

they must tell him:


stay away.

she’s the ugly friend. the oddball. a caricature of the obscure.

she cuts the skin around her ankles while she shaves. on purpose.

she likes the burning sensation

almost more than she likes the sound of nails on a chalkboard.

I heard she makes jewelry out of her little sisters baby teeth

and sucks the blood of her foes.

what she has is never enough.

her signature scent is misery

and she washes her clothes with despair every night.

if you get too close or break her heart,

she’ll write a poem about you

and dance to the beat of your suffering.

she laughs so hard

she cries. when she cries,

she pours.

she pours lemon juice on her papercuts,

and she’ll pour them on yours too.

i heard she walked on glass with bare feet once before.

she leaves her shoelaces untied,

in hopes that someone will finally catch her

when she falls.


I want to laugh at the thought that he used the word “interesting”

instead of what he really meant

bone-chilling. terrifying. disturbing.


I want to laugh at the way he looks at me

but doesn’t really look at me

like I am medusa

he will turn to stone

I feel the need to ask what they say about me

even though I know

fire will be the only thing that fills me

when he tells me they think I’m cold


when he tells me he thinks the same

because he doesn’t really know me

I resist the urge to ask

instead, I wear the widest grin on my face

a warm defense mechanism

to distract him from how cold

I really am