Dividing by Halves


“Can I lay here?”
I say to a lover after I’ve done what I expect they expect
Wondering if I’ll fit neatly in the space under bed
If I take up any space in their pretty head
Or if I’d be more agreeable at my place instead
They whisper “you were a vision,” and I forget I am fact
I give. They give, but I give back
Constantly, constantly dividing by half.


“Can I stand here?”
I ask a close friend who pays little mind and assumes i’m being tactful
But I’m little more than a coat rack:
Supportive, silent, and a shrinking kind of bashful
I want to speak, but I’m self-dimmed; the glitter in my eye dulled
Terrified of gluttony, I pour myself out to give glasses half full
Friends strip me further of my hue, wishing they could be useful too
But I keep subtracting pieces they knew
Fragments of ‘me’ divided in two.


“Can I sit here?”
I ask to a room full of peers whose faces repeat, endless
Whose words are a cacophony of self worth and assuredness
Assaulting the empty spaces constructed within
No guard between my form and the burden of ‘them’
I’ve always loved pointillism because it makes me feel sane
Disconnected details, to you a fully formed frame
I paint on my features, give myself a name
Once only a fourth, now only an eighth.


“Can I crouch here?”
In the corner of my dwindling soul
Barely subsisting on morsels I stole
I consume myself and bear the toll
For the love of those who call this place home
My liquor filled veins are more dense than I’d planned
Too heavy, too imposing, too much room I demand
Divide! divide! and divide again!


“Can i exist here?”
Must i reduce instead?
i paint myself the most obscene shade of red
Apologizing for the blood that i’ve bled
The impact i’ve had on repeat in my head
Everything and everyone i touch turns to space
i almost regret the words left on this page
But these words are all i have left i’m afraid
if you take nothing else from me, hear these words plain:
i love you, my dear
Please wax while i wane.

About the Author

Aaliyah Jenkins is currently pursuing a degree in Nutrition at the University of Texas at Austin. In her spare time, she writes poetry that she hopes is always honest and emotionally provocative.