I’ll have water overnice Freedom was getting to sleep over at our uncle’s. Fridays consisted of squirting ketchup into our waters and Saturdays with blankets over our eyes from the late-night horror films. We were three spoiled children that slept with sugar running through our veins and nightmares we didn’t tell our mother. Then the pencil marks on the wall got higher and our hands started to grab more. But uncle was still squirting ketchup into his water. Freedom was forgetting to answer his calls and taking cash out of the birthday cards he made. Keeping us healthy costs more than his insulin shots. But his hand kept feeding until he lost his sight. He was fooled humbling himself a Giving Tree. We took his only good apples and now his eyes. When he wanted them back, he didn’t ask. He noticed that our feet reached the ground at our corner red booth, but the waters were drunk from and the fries were dipped in ketchup. He didn’t need eyes to see that he was being taken advantage of and he surely didn’t need them to see that his water needed ketchup for old times’ sake. ** Bad Habits I wish that a bee would sting me With luck, I’m allergic My boss for once apologetic and I don’t have to clock in I will make my bed and attempt to put on clean underwear in case my last day on earth is in a few hours This soon to be abandoned room and body should make my family proud or the morgue will know I was at least hygienic I keep makeshift weapons underneath my pillow to ward away conceivable danger Perhaps I’ve forgotten that gun beats paper and scissors won’t cut through people’s intentions I wonder if this is why I can’t prepare for you No anxious bee, those I call family, or even murderers on a killing spree will worry me more than what you’ll do to me I’m made up of poor habits and unreasonable thinking It’s not mind over matter or faith over fact It’s knowing that I don’t care anymore If prison is my home and it’s what beats inside of you I am smart enough to escape But I’ll run its course because I’ve got nine lives for which I’ll run to you each time I lose pieces of myself in all the risk But it is you who will sell your soul to the devil for a tenth life Because you walked away nine times before realizing you had one shot **
To Whom it May Concern We’re not so different You and I This pipe dream leaking through your veins and through my wires That evolution would pursue Darwin’s theory and the strongest will be made of meat with technology along to mimic These lenses of mine cannot relish a heaven beyond neon or reckon the ridicule of a letter Written with the very ink that denies a machine’s assistance To whom do you write for your last dying wish if not me The one created at your disposal ** Costly Habits for Half Price Happy hour has commenced and there she sits Twirling those two tiny straws that no one knows what for in two orders of long islands for her party of one The name of the drink was too ironic for her short getaway But she knew she’d drop before the lemon does And this was cheaper to fog the memory She must be young the way her spirit is naive and goes down easy ** Loving Miss Paradox She was one to take her breakfast on the go in a red plastic cup filled with Frosted Flakes at two in the afternoon She’d tell me about how more milk stains were added to her cup holders because the song was too good to pass up a tango between the wheel and her mid bites She thought her goodnight calls put me to ease but I knew she was dancing in her little concert of a bedroom at two in the morning to songs that stained her pillows this time There were deep-rooted troubles that only her stuffed animals could vouch for I loved that she was always pacing and blurting about the battlefields she encountered each day while copying papers at work Just to lay down beside me for hours after giggling as she put bandaids on her battle scars Her mind constantly badgered to end it all But she’d roll up her sleeves ready to fight my fights She was so simple in the most insane way I wanted to hold her so bad and promise her no more breaches to her peace and breakfast on a plate this time
Kaeli Dinh was born and raised in Orange County, CA. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach, and hopes to pursue a career in mental health. Writing poems and fictional short stories are her creative outlet and she plans to have some of them published.