color swatches for haunted bedrooms 

i slept red until the house
burned down & i had no more 
childhood bones inside me.
took a paint brush to my corner 
of sky & left it pink.
i'm holding a flower up to the wall
& saying, "if only we could bloom
like this." a ceiling fan spitting dust.
in the aftermath of my tongue,
i spat violet day in & day out.
locked the door & was told 
that love is an unlocked room.
knocking. knuckles. the boy
who hid beneath the bed 
& sang his own lullabies.
i let my brother stand in the corner.
i said, "don't look." red grew
like weeds across every inch.
loud & rusted & ready. 
i blind-folded myself to choose 
my body from a line-up.
blue or orange or cream. 
i could see every single smudge.
jungles waited in my hands.
how i taught myself to sleep 
in the chorus of demons. their
maroon fingers writing birthdays
in the dark. i called for my parents
& everyone came. the room was not
red to them. not even a little bit.
cupped my like a lemon seed.
sat me on a windowsill & said,
"don't jump, just look."
the sky hugged herself blue.
i mimicked her, doing the same.
it was enough to survive. 

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